After the NCAA granted college athletes rights to profit off of their names Thursday, images and likenesses this week, former NFL running back Reggie Bush said it was his “firm belief” that both his records and his Heisman Trophy should be reinstated.
Bush was awarded the Heisman after his 2005 season at USC, but he returned the trophy at the end of a multi-year NCAA investigation that found he and family members accepted impermissible benefits. USC had 14 wins vacated and the Heisman Trust vacated the award for that year.
Bush said he has reached out to the Heisman Trust multiple times about revisiting that decision, but was told they could not help him. In a statement on Friday, the group said their rules governing eligibility for the award state that “the recipient must be in compliance with the bylaws defining an NCAA student athlete.”
While rules for current athletes have changed, there has been no retroactive action toward players who were punished in the past. As a result, the Heisman Trust says the NCAA must act before they can.
“Bush’s 2005 season records remain vacated by the NCAA and, as a result, under the rule set forth by the Heisman Trust and stated on the Heisman Ballot, he is not eligible to be awarded the 2005 Heisman Memorial Trophy,” the statement said. “Should the NCAA reinstate Bush’s 2005 status, the Heisman Trust looks forward to welcoming him back to the Heisman family.”
Thursday’s statement from Bush said that he has reached out to the NCAA multiple times as well, but there’s been no more indication that they are considering a change to Bush’s status at this point than there has been that the Heisman Trust would change their rules regarding eligibility for the award.