The NCAA says it won’t re-evaluate or reconsider past penalties based on NIL rule changes. So Reggie Bush won’t get his Heisman Trophy back.
Despite calls for Reggie Bush to have his Heisman Trophy returned and his records reinstated, the NCAA isn’t budging.
On Wednesday, the organization released a statement saying, “previous penalties, including those several years old, will not be re-evaluated or reconsidered based on the recent changes to NIL rules.”
That means Bush is out of luck.
The topic of Bush’s Heisman came up after the NCAA changed rules allowing players to profit off their name, image and likeness. The USC running back ran afoul of NCAA rules because his family allegedly accepted payments from a would-be agent, including rent and plane tickets. A player of Bush’s profile today would be able to make far more in endorsement deals under the current rules.
Reggie Bush deserves his Heisman back despite the NCAA’s ruling
The issue here shouldn’t be with the NCAA. In truth, Bush and his family broke the rules in place at the time. The penalties levied against USC were overly harsh, but penalties of some variety were deserved. Stripping Bush of his records was an obvious move, even if everyone knows USC won those games and Bush performed those feats of incredible athleticism.
What wasn’t necessary was the action of the Heisman Trust. They removed Bush from their ranks despite it being very clear he was far from the first or the last Heisman winner to receive illegal benefits. Johnny Manziel has openly admitted to receiving cash for autographs. Cam Newton was the subject of an NCAA pay-for-play investigation.
Instead of acknowledging they made an unfair call to strip Bush of his trophy, the Heisman Trust put the ball in the NCAA’s court by saying they couldn’t reinstate him without the NCAA doing so first.
The Heisman Trust isn’t beholden to the NCAA. If they wanted to bring Bush back into the fold, they could make it happen.
For his part, Bush tweeted some vague but intriguing messages after the ruling.
Perhaps this story isn’t over.