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NCAA Won’t Reinstate Reggie Bush’s Heisman Trophy

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The NCAA has decided to keep Reggie Bush’s vacated Heisman locked in a storage closet under their piles of cash and Capital One t-shirts, despite amateurism laws having been all but eliminated this summer. Once the top dog of all collegiate athletics, the NCAA now serves roughly the same purpose as Dunder-Mifflin’s party planning committee: organizing gatherings and shooting dirty glances at anyone who disagrees with them on anything. It’s no surprise that they would draw yet another arbitrary line in the sand over this issue as well.

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Bush had asked for his records to be reinstated and his prestigious trophy returned, which the Heisman Trust promised to do if the NCAA sanctioned it. But on Tuesday, the NCAA publicly declined, saying that it would not be making any changes to its stats in the wake of rules changes allowing players to receive endorsement and sponsor money for their image rights.

Like Steve Martin hitting rock bottom in The Jerk, the NCAA is taking anything it can carry on its way out: ashtrays, remote controls, Heisman trophies, whatever is laying around is all they need.

“Although college athletes can now receive benefits from their names, images and likenesses through activities like endorsements and appearances, NCAA rules still do not permit pay-for-play type arrangements,” The NCAA said. “The NCAA infractions process exists to promote fairness in college sports. The rules that govern fair play are voted on, agreed to and expected to be upheld by all NCAA member schools. Previous penalties, including those that are several years old, will not be re-evaluated or reconsidered based on the recent changes to NIL rules.”

Bush’s Heisman was vacated along with his stats at USC after an investigation found Bush’s family received benefits from an agent while he was playing at USC. The school was forced to vacate wins from Bush’s time with the Trojans, then received a postseason ban and had scholarships reduced, as well. 

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Almost two decades later, the entire situation feels awkward and bitter. Apparently the Heisman Trust hasn’t gotten the courage to stand up to Angela in the party planning committee yet, and as such, won’t be inviting Bush to any cookouts at Heisman House this fall during commercial breaks. Bush undoubtedly broke the rules in 2005, but he also undoubtedly won the award; it’s not like an organizational certification that must be reinstated in order to go to work. If we all just say that yes, Bush won the Heisman in 2005, doesn’t that mean he won? Do we really need a cat lady giving her blessing as she storms out with a lamp in tow?

My guess is that the award will be returned within a few years as this new NIL normal really sets in. Until then, Reggie, forget the Heisman folks if you can, and instead enjoy a nice BBQ in the backyard of the house that USC bought your parents. You earned it.

Written by TK Sanders

TK is a southerner who has lived on both coasts and definitely prefers sunshine to snow. A former entertainment executive in Los Angeles, he was run out of Hollywood for misgendering a director's dog, and is now forced to blog for a living. Breaking 80 will always be his number one goal in life.

Follow him on Twitter @outkicktommy.

3 Comments

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  1. Whenever the NCAA can make the wrong choice, they do. Reggie Bush got money and a free house for his family and loses the Heisman. UNC set up a fake degree program to keep hundreds of athletes eligible, no consequences.

  2. USC did NOT buy Reggie’s parents, nor did they have anything to do with sanctions. It was a “should’ve known” situation. It’s even in the report that USC itself did nothing wrong. The NCAA made up facts — and kept it in the report after it being pointed out — the phone call from that agent wanna-be was in 2006, after his playing days(not 2005). The so-called agents paid his parents, 120 miles away in San Diego, to get him out of USC, to be his NFL representative. No benefit to USC. The Heisman decision is a farce.

    15 years ago USC was similar to what Alabama is now; the powers that be made sure their run was shorter due to sheer jealousy. Best team, best weather, best recruits, best coach, stars on the sideline. It was too much.

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