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Pointing to current NIL laws, USC's Reggie Bush now wants his 2005 Heisman Trophy back

Chuck Schilken
Los Angeles Times
Former USC running back Reggie Bush won the 2005 Heisman Trophy, but returned it in 2010 after an NCAA investigation found he had received improper benefits while still a Trojan.

LOS ANGELES — Reggie Bush forfeited his Heisman Trophy in 2010. Now he wants it back.

After an NCAA investigation determined Bush had received improper benefits while playing at USC, the star running back returned the prestigious trophy he had been awarded five years earlier.

Also at the time, the NCAA stripped USC of its 2004 national title and the school had to vacate 14 wins from 2004 and 2005, with all mentions of Bush's stats from those years either erased or accompanied by asterisks.

But times have changed.

The NCAA has approved a policy change that allows college athletes the right to profit off their names, images and likenesses.

"Well well well….look what we have here," Bush tweeted soon after the announcement.

The next morning, Bush tweeted a longer statement "in regard to the reinstatement of my college records and my Heisman."

"It is my strong belief that I won the Heisman trophy 'solely' due to my hard work and dedication on the football field and it is also my firm belief that my records should be reinstated," Bush wrote.

Bush said in 2010 that he decided to give up his Heisman because of "persistent media speculation" that was "both painful and distracting."

He said in a tweet on July 1: "I never cheated this game. That was what they wanted you to believe about me."

In his statement, Bush said he reached out to the Heisman Trust about the possible return of his trophy and was told that "they could not help us."

He said he also attempted to speak with the NCAA about his situation "and received no help or got no response at all."

The NCAA and Heisman Trust have not responded to inquiries about Bush's comments. Former Heisman Trophy winners Matt Leinart, who was the Trojans starting quarterback from 2003-05, Mark Ingram and Johnny Manziel were among those who tweeted their support for Bush to get his trophy back.

With the changes in the NIL rules looming last year, Bush told the Athletic he was glad future college athletes wouldn't have to face situations similar to his.

"I'm good with what happened to me because it had to happen to me so we could get to this point," Bush said. "Kids will no longer be told they can't make money off their names while their school makes millions off of them. Thousands of kids now will be able to make money off their name and likeness, be able to support their families that need help, and have a little extra to be able to even put good healthy food on the table and pay bills."