Former NFL star Reggie Bush will not have his 2005 Heisman Trophy returned to him, nor can the former New Orleans Saint running back rely on the latest NCAA regulations update to assist in his quest either.
When Bush played for the University of Southern California Trojans, the NCAA had strict rules that prohibited student-athletes from establishing business deals or licensing rights to their name, image, and likeness for profit. He went on to have an illustrious career and earned a Heisman Trophy in the process. However, in 2010 Bush chose to forfeit his prestigious award after the NCAA placed heavy sanctions on his former university —including the forfeit of 14 victories.
That fallout came when allegations surfaced after Bush had moved on to the NFL that and his family had improperly accepted money and gifts from two sports agents while he was in college. Bush recently has sought to no avail to have his 2005 season records reinstated.
The NCAA’s change to the NIL rules that now allow athletes to earn money from their name, image, and likeness serves no benefit to Bush to the retired NFL player. In a statement to this week to ESPN, a spokesperson for the organization said: “Although college athletes can now receive benefits from their names, images, and likenesses through activities like endorsements and appearances, NCAA rules still do not permit pay-for-play type arrangements. Previous penalties, including those that are several years old, will not be re-evaluated or reconsidered based on the recent changes to NIL rules.”
The statement continued, “The NCAA infractions process exists to promote fairness in college sports. The rules that govern fair play are voted on, agreed to and expected to be upheld by all NCAA member schools.”
Bush’s attorney, Alex Spiro, slammed the NCAA in a statement that cited a recent Supreme Court ruling against the organization; Bush uploaded it to his Twitter account.
“Today, in the face of those words, the NCAA doubles down on its decade-plus draconian penalty of a teenage kid who had this award taken based upon a sham investigation,” the letter read. “You have to wonder if profiting from kids for this long has concluded the NCAA’s judgment as to why we have student athletics in the first place.”
The latest update comes as the Heisman Trust recently released a statement regarding Bush’s case. They expressed interest in “welcoming him back to the Heisman family” granted the NCAA were to reinstate his status from the 2005 season — which the NCAA has already declined to do.
In addition, the ballot used by voters has a rule governing eligibility for the award; it was in effect at the time Bush was given his trophy. It states: “In order that there will be no misunderstanding regarding the eligibility of a candidate, the recipient of the award must be a bona fide student of an accredited college or university including the United States Academies. The recipient must be in compliance with the bylaws defining an NCAA student athlete.”
Bush’s journey to be reinstated now appears to be at a dead end.