Reggie Bush’s Heisman Return Emphasizes New Era of College Football

Reggie Bush’s Heisman Return Emphasizes New Era of College Football article feature image

Michael Cohen/WireImage. Pictured: Former USC running back Reggie Bush with the Heisman Trophy.

Reggie Bush, the only player to have his Heisman Trophy taken away, made a different kind of history Wednesday.

Bush became the first player to be awarded the Heisman Trophy in April in Ponte Vedra Beach.

Forget the old-school Downtown Athletic Club in New York City and the hour-long ESPN buildup. Bush got his trophy literally by the beach.

There have been several Heisman winners anointed in September — Colorado’s Travis Hunter, Michigan’s Denard Robinson, West Virginia’s Geno Smith, Texas A&M’s Kenny Hill and LSU’s Leonard Fournette — but nobody ever was presented the Heisman in April in Florida. Until Bush.

That’s what happened Wednesday morning in Ponte Vedra Beach — likely between rounds of golf. Bush was presented with his Heisman Trophy in a ceremony attended by the Heisman Trophy Trust membership and some former Heisman Trophy winners.

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Bush deserves his Heisman. I voted for Bush back in 2005. He was and still is the greatest running back ever at USC, dead or alive. Sorry, OJ.

The Heisman Trophy Trust announced the historic reinstatement of the 2005 Heisman Memorial Trophy to Bush. Maybe it just took a lot of time to count all those ballots from 2005.

Actually, it took some time for common sense to prevail. Given the current state of college athletics — or what’s left of “college” athletics — with NIL and pay-for-play around the corner, the Heisman Trust saw an opportunity to welcome back a past winner.

Nissan representatives were also in Ponte Vedra Beach. Certainly, they were spit-ballin’ all the cool Heisman House commercials they can do this year.

“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,” Heisman Trophy Trust President Michael Comerford said. “We are so happy to welcome him back.”

There were several factors in Bush being reinstated his trophy, sources said. The Supreme Court’s 2021 Alston decision and the drastically changing landscape involving regarding athlete’s compensation played a role.

The NCAA, however, was a non-factor. Shocking, I know.

Just three years ago, the Heisman Trust said they wouldn’t budge before the NCAA. For as long as Bush’s records remain vacated by the NCAA, “he is not eligible to be awarded the 2005 Heisman Memorial Trophy.”

That was only three years ago. But the past three years in college athletics are equal to dog years on steroids.

And another example of how insignificant the NCAA has become.

reggie bush-heisman trophy-usc trojans-college football
Charles Baus/Icon SMI/Icon Sport Media via Getty Images. Pictured: USC's Reggie Bush.

It was an NCAA investigation that found that Bush received what were impermissible benefits during his time with the Trojans that caused the Heisman to take back his Heisman.

Those “impermissible benefits” from Bush’s playing days? That’s just a typical Friday in today’s college climate.

After losing his Heisman nearly a decade ago and enduring years of frustration, Bush took the high road on Wednesday.

“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. “I also look forward to working together with the Heisman Trust to advance the values and mission of the organization.”

A former Heisman winner told Action Network that Bush’s reinstatement “had been a topic amongst the winners for several years. This has always been brought up.”

Former Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel went public with his displeasure over Bush’s status. Just last month, Manziel said he would not attend the Heisman Trophy ceremony until Bush’s trophy was returned.

Then lawyers got involved, college athletics were turned upside down and Bush found himself at a Florida resort getting his trophy back.

Manziel thanked the Heisman Trophy on Twitter “for doing what’s right and welcoming a storied member of our history back into the fold.

"There were many voices throughout this process that stood on the table for Reggie simply because of the kind of human being he is. I look forward to being on that stage with you this December. You deserve it.”

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