The NCAA’s new name, image and likeness rules (NIL) not only sparked discussions for today’s current players, but for players of the past as well.
These new league-wide rules allow athletes from all three divisions to profit off of endorsement deals, jersey sales, autograph signings, public appearances, etc. So in the wake of this monumental July 1 rule change, past rules breaks and NCAA sanctions are now being called into question.
The biggest push so far has no doubt come for Reggie Bush, who was stripped of his Heisman Trophy and NCAA records in 2005. The superstar running back was found to have received “impermissible benefits” during his time at USC, the same type of benefits he’d be allowed to earn himself under the current NIL laws.
Despite a significant push from fans and from Bush himself, the 2005 Heisman Trophy will not be returned to its original owner.
“Previous penalties, including those that are several years old, will not be re-evaluated or reconsidered based on the recent changes to NIL rules,” an NCAA spokesperson said, per Kyle Bonagura of ESPN.
While the NCAA and Heisman Trust are technically separate entities, Bongura clarified that the Heisman Trust would only welcome back Bush if the NCAA reinstated his 2005 season — something that doesn’t appear to be happening anytime soon.
Earlier this month the Heisman Trust said it would welcome back Reggie Bush only if the NCAA were to reinstate his 2005 season. So, now Heisman Trust would now have to change its policy for Bush to be reinstated. Not impossible. Not likely.
— Kyle Bonagura (@BonaguraESPN) July 28, 2021
Based on statements from earlier this month, Bush certainly disagrees with this decision.
“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,” Bush wrote.
Through his Heisman season in 2005, the Trojan legend logged 2,218 total yards and 18 touchdowns.