USC is planning to end its disassociation with Reggie Bush, sources tell ESPN's Kyle Bonagura.
More, from Bonagura:
The timing comes as a result of an NCAA Committee on Infractions rule, adopted in 2017, that limits any mandated disassociation between an individual and a school to 10 years. Bush's disassociation — which came as part of sweeping sanctions that included a two-year postseason ban, 14 vacated victories (including the 2004 BCS national championship) and the loss of 30 scholarships — began on June 10, 2010. Once the 10-year period is over, according to COI procedures, the NCAA will no longer "monitor or enforce" the disassociation and will give schools the freedom to decide how to proceed, whether that's to extend the disassociation or end it.
Because of the sanctions, USC was forced to erase Bush from its university. That meant no mentions of him were allowed, no images celebrating his career could be displayed, and any record he set came with an asterisk. While he may be gone in an official capacity, fans will forever hold on to the memories Bush created during his incredible run at USC.
His 2005 season is arguably one of the best in college football history. Bush finished with 2,890 all-purpose yards that season, and helped USC to a National Championship game (where they lost to Texas).
Bush ended up winning the Heisman Trophy that year, but the record books won't say that. That's because as part of the sanctions, Bush had to return his Heisman Trophy. He's the only player in NCAA history to do so.
When Bush's disassociation with USC ends, many fans feel it's time to return his Heisman Trophy back to him as well.
Reggie Bush is the best college football player I have ever seen.
Give him back his Heisman Trophy.
— Adam Rank (@adamrank) June 10, 2020
Give Reggie Bush his Heisman back, best college football player of my lifetime pic.twitter.com/vG3W0xGnmy
— Fitz (@FitzGSN_) June 10, 2020
Give Reggie Bush back his Heisman!
— Doug Gottlieb (@GottliebShow) June 10, 2020
Reggie Bush being disassociated from USC was always an insanely dumb penalty. Good to see that ending. Heisman should apologize and give him back that award too.
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) June 10, 2020
now put the Heisman back on this mantle https://t.co/QsXcce977R
— Mike Golic Jr (@mikegolicjr) June 10, 2020
— Alex Anzalone (@AlexAnzalone47) June 10, 2020
Considering what Bush did, it's definitely time for the powers that be to rethink this decision.
Bush and his family accepted cash, travel expenses and a home where his parents could live rent-free for more than a year, and received $10,000 to furnish (per the investigation). Because the NCAA is finally considering allowing players to profit off their name and likeness, this offense seems extremely minor for the punishment.
"If there’s anyone to blame, it’s the people who came into our moms’ and dads’ houses and said they were going to protect us and keep us safe,” former USC RB LenDale White told the LA Times. “You can’t be mad at a kid. Your jersey done sold 1,000 times in a single day, and you gotta borrow money from your teammates to get a dollar burger from Wendy’s? Look, I don’t blame Reggie at all, so much as I blame the so-called higher-ups, the people who are supposed to save us at that point.”
Bush's Heisman was never reissued to another player, so it's still acceptable to give it back to him. Bush willingly decided to forfeit his Heisman before The Heisman Trust made its decision on whether to take it away.
"While this decision is heartbreaking, I find solace in knowing that the award was made possible by the support and love of so many," Bush said at the time. "Those are gifts that can never be taken away."
In 2013, the Washington Post found out that Bush's Heisman is just sitting in a storage unit:
The Trust no longer acknowledges Bush as a Heisman winner and is secretive about the trophy’s location. Henning said the trophy has neither been destroyed nor reissued — rather, it’s in a storage unit in the New York City area, alongside portraits and valuables the Trust no longer had room for when it moved from the Downtown Athletic Club.
It's finally time to take that trophy out of storage, and give it back to Bush.