Bush gets back 2005 Heisman Trophy, No. 5 to be re-retired

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
USC now has eight Heisman Trophies, the most of any school in the country, after Regie Bush got his 2005 Heisman Trophy back.

LOS ANGELES – Reggie Bush finally has his 2005 Heisman Trophy back, the Heisman Trust announced on Wednesday with a photo of Bush reunited with his trophy.

Bush originally gave up his Heisman Trophy in 2010 following severe NCAA sanctions against USC in the wake of an investigation which concluded, among other things, that Bush had received “improper benefits” while he was in school.

Those “improper benefits” are not improper in today’s college athletics and seem minor in hindsight compared the multi-million-dollar deals college athletes are now making while in school. USC quarterback Caleb Williams, who will be the No. 1 pick in this week’s NFL Draft and won the Heisman Trophy in 2022, reportedly made over $10 million in Name, Image and Likeness deals and endorsements during two years at USC.

“We are thrilled to welcome Reggie Bush back to the Heisman family in recognition of his collegiate accomplishments,” Michael Comerford, president of The Heisman Trophy Trust, said in a statement . “We considered the enormous changes in college athletics over the last several years in deciding that now is the right time to reinstate the trophy for Reggie. We are so happy to welcome him back.”

Not only will Bush get his Heisman Trophy back but the replica of Bush’s Heisman Trophy will be returned to USC and be displayed alongside USC’s seven other Heisman Trophies at Heritage Hall. Bush also will get his No. 5 re-retired at the Coliseum next to the other Heisman Trophy winners.

USC now has eight Heisman Trophies, the most of any school in the country.

“Personally, I’m thrilled to reunite with my fellow Heisman winners and be a part of the storied legacy of the Heisman Trophy, and I’m honored to return to the Heisman family,” Bush said in a statement to ESPN. “I also look forward to working together with the Heisman Trust to advance the values and mission of the organization.”

Bush was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame last year at a ceremony in Las Vegas but it was hard for him not to think about the Heisman Trophy award ceremony that was taking place a few days later.

“They need to do the right thing,” Bush told The Sporting Tribune at the event. “It’s funny, [the Heisman Trust] recently asked my attorney for me to go to all the former Heisman Trophy winners and to get them to sign off on me getting my trophy back.

“I would never in a million years do something like that. I didn’t need their approval before and I’m not going to ask for it now. That’s something I would never do and I’m ashamed that they asked me to do that because I would never go and seek someone else’s approval to see if I should get this award back that I earned with my blood, sweat and tears. I think the Heisman Trust needs to do the right thing. I think they need to get ahead of this before it gets a lot worse for them.”

Bush smiled as he mentioned the recent Netflix documentary with Johnny Manziel where he admitted to making money while he was at Texas A&M. Manziel has posted several times on social media that Bush should get his Heisman Trophy back and that he would attend the Heisman Trophy award ceremony until he did. Both are invited and expected to attend the 90th Heisman Trophy ceremony this fall.

“Did you talk to Johnny Manziel? He would be a great guy to talk to,” Bush said. “When you look at the Johnny Manziel doc, he told the NCAA that his family had oil money and what did they do? They believed him so easily. What was his penalty? A half a game?

“But when they are investigating me and they don’t have factual proof and they still come with a significant penalty against us. What does that say to you? That feels along the lines of skin color and a direct attack on me for just being me. It’s unfortunate that the NCAA chose to take it to that level and that they’re still hiding.”

Bush then took out his iPhone and read an email the NCAA sent to him last year when he asked for his final season at USC to be reinstated in order to get his Heisman Trophy back.

“It says that ‘the Committee on Infractions (COI) acknowledges that the vacation of records penalty can affect eligible and ineligible student athletes,’” Bush said. “’You have specifically alleged that the COI penalty led to the Heisman Trust declaring you ineligible to be awarded the 2005 Heisman Trophy.

“The vacation of records penalty is an institutional records penalty. The COI has no authority or power to make or control the decisions of outside non-member organizations or institutions.’ Ultimately what they’re trying to say is they don’t control the Heisman Trust. They are two separate organizations that don’t work together and yet the Heisman Trust has told me they’re not going to give the trophy back to me until I’m reinstated.”

Bush filed a defamation suit against the NCAA last year and said it is still ongoing. He said all he wanted from the lawsuit was to be reinstated and to get his Heisman Trophy back.