Reggie Bush takes legal action against NCAA and pursues Heisman trophy reinstatement

Reggie Bush
Reggie Bush, USC, Heisman Trophy

New details from a lawsuit filed in an Indiana Superior Court shows that Reggie Bush is trying to get the NCAA to reinstate his football records and his Heisman Trophy win.

The Heisman Trophy is awarded annually to the most outstanding collegiate football player. The former University of Southern California superstar won the honor in 2005 after rushing for 1,740 yards on just 200 carries and scoring 18 total touchdowns.

He voluntarily gave up the award in 2010 after an investigation by the collegiate sports governing body found he received prohibited benefits and ruled him ineligible as of 2004. However, the Supreme Court ruled in 2021 that college athletes can receive education-related payments for use of their name, image and likeness (NIL). Bush petitioned to get his award reinstated on the basis of the Supreme Court decision.

The NCAA described the star’s playing career at USC as a “pay-for-play” arrangement while detailing why it wouldn’t restore his playing career records. A statement released by the NCAA in 2021 says that its rules still prohibited “pay-for-play type arrangements” and that “previous penalties, including those that are several years old, will not be re-evaluated or reconsidered.”

The recently filed lawsuit reads: “The NCAA’s claim that Mr. Bush engaged in ‘pay–for–play’ (the ‘Statement’) is reasonably and widely understood to mean that Mr. Bush received payment in return for playing football at the University of Southern California (‘USC’).” His attorneys claim in the lawsuit that the NCAA’s investigation was flawed and that he was defamed by the agency’s “patently false statements.”

Bush said in a statement, “I’ve got dreams of coming back in this stadium and running out of that tunnel with the football team. I’ve got dreams of walking back in here and seeing my jersey and my banner right down there next to the rest of the Heisman Trophy winners. But I can’t rightfully do that without my Heisman Trophy.”

The Heisman Trophy Trust said in 2021 that they would welcome Bush “back into the Heisman family” if the NCAA reinstated his 2005 status. The NCAA has declined to comment on the matter.

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