‘I Never Cheated This Game’: Reggie Bush Seeks Reinstatement of College Stats and Heisman Trophy Amid NCAA Rule Change Allowing Players to Make Money

With college students now allowed to profit off their image, former University of Southern California running back Reggie Bush says it is time his Heisman trophy be returned, and his collegiate stats be restored.

With the nature of player’s ability to earn money, Bush says his collegiate legacy should reflect all he did on the gridiron, and not just the tarnished image of a college kid who broke NCAA rules.

Reggie Bush shares a throwback photo of himself playing college football at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. @reggiebush/Instagram

“I never cheated this game. That was what they wanted you to believe about me,” tweeted Bush on July 1 — the same day the NCAA announced a major change to NIL (name, image, likeness) rules allowing college athletes to earn money from their athletic exploits.

Prior to the decision, NCAA rules prohibited players from securing business deals, or licensing rights to their own image for the use of profit, without suffering the consequence of losing eligibility, awards, and like Bush record wins.

Bush was an undeniable offensive star for the Trojans, racking up 3,169 yards rushing, 1,301 yards receiving, and 2,081 yards combined on kickoff and punt returns in his three seasons at USC. But the San Diego native lost his glimmer when the Heisman Trophy he was awarded for his 2005 season was forfeited following allegations that he and his family improperly accepted money and gifts from two sports agents while he was in college. Further fallout included USC being banned from bowl games for two years, and vacating all wins with Bush, including the 2014 national championship.

After college, Bush went on to play four seasons with the New Orleans Saints, where he won his only Super Bowl in 2010, before hopping from the Miami Dolphins, Detroit Lions, San Francisco 49ers, and finally the Buffalo Bills in 2016. After a year of not being picked up by a team he announced his retirement in 2017.

But even with his career success, Bush still wants his college accolades to shine. He shared that he and his team have made countless attempts to speak with the appropriate parties who can help restore that part of his legacy. 

“Over the last few months, on multiple occasions, my team and I have reached out to both the NCAA and The Heisman Trust in regard to the reinstatement of my Heisman.” But despite those efforts, Bush claims calls have mostly gone unanswered and his legacy still smudged. He continued by claiming that The Heisman Trust Executive Director Rob Whalen said there was nothing The Trust could do to help him. Thus far, Bush says he has met a similar wall with the NCAA.

“It is my strong belief that I won the Heisman trophy ‘solely’ due to my hard work and dedication on the football field and it is also my firm belief that my records should be reinstated.”

On social, views are split on whether Bush’s pleas should be met with his desired outcome.

“💯 they act like the SEC hasn’t been paying players for years 🤦🏾!

“Or since you broke the rules that were in place you keep your punishment. Just because something is changed doesn’t mean the past is!”

Back to top