Reggie Bush gets 2005 Heisman Trophy back in formal 'reinstatement'

It took a long time, but it's finally happening: Reggie Bush is getting his 2005 Heisman Trophy back.

The Heisman Trust announced on Wednesday it is formally "reinstating" Bush, 14 years after the USC football star gave up his Heisman Trophy due to the major sanctions levied against his alma mater.

With the introduction of NIL rights in college sports, the NCAA landscape is significantly different in 2024 than it was in 2010. In light of that, Bush is being reinstated to his place in the Heisman family.

"We are thrilled to welcome Reggie Bush back to the Heisman family in recognition of his collegiate accomplishments," said Michael Comerford, President of The Heisman Trophy Trust. "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. We are so happy to welcome him back."

The Heisman Trust said Bush got his original trophy back and a replica was given to USC. Bush will also be invited to all Heisman events starting with the 2024 season.

"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 in a statement. "I also look forward to working together with the Heisman Trust to advance the values and mission of the organization."

Bush won his Heisman in 2005, but it was essentially repossessed in 2010 after an NCAA investigation (which was spurred by extensive investigative reporting by Yahoo Sports) found that Bush had received impermissible benefits from marketing agents while he was a student-athlete. USC had to vacate all wins Bush participated in while ineligible — including the Trojans' 2004 BCS national championship — and his stats from that season were nullified. Those findings also resulted in an NCAA-mandated break between Bush and USC, which ended in 2020 when the university officially welcomed Bush back into the fold.

A year later, Bush made his overall intentions clear: he wanted his Heisman Trophy back and he wanted the NCAA to reinstate his records. He and his team had reached out to the NCAA and the Heisman Trust but hadn't heard back.

The Heisman Trust wasn't moved by Bush's plea, and refused to return his 2005 trophy to him until the NCAA reinstated him. And despite the NIL rules changing, the NCAA said it wouldn't be making any changes to its stats.

Bush was still elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2023 despite his Heisman having been vacated, but his desire to reclaim his trophy had not diminished. In Aug. 2023 Bush announced he was suing the NCAA for defamation in the hopes of forcing them to reinstate his records, which could have also led to him getting his trophy back.

Now, even without that suit having been resolved, the Heisman Trust will reinstate Bush on Wednesday and return his trophy. It's unclear whether this will have any bearing on Bush's standing with the NCAA or the lawsuit.