Statement from the Heisman Trophy Trust – July 2, 2021

The Heisman Trust believes the recent decision by the NCAA to allow student athletes the ability to control their name, image and likeness is a positive step in the right direction. The Heisman Trust supports any legislation that will protect and benefit all student athletes.

The on-field accomplishments of Reggie Bush during the 2005 season at USC were remarkable and remain in the memories of all college football fans that had the privilege of witnessing him in action.

Subsequent to Bush being awarded the 2005 Heisman Trophy, the NCAA concluded an investigation that he and his family had received impermissible benefits while a student athlete at The University of Southern California and vacated his playing records as well as those of the entire USC football team.

In September of 2010, Bush announced that he would forfeit his title as a Heisman Trophy Winner and the Heisman Trust vacated the 2005 award. Bush returned his trophy and USC returned its replica trophy to the Heisman Trust.

The Heisman Trophy ballot used by voters has a rule governing eligibility for the award, which was in effect in 2005, which states:

“In order that there will be no misunderstanding regarding the eligibility of a candidate, the recipient of the award must be a bona fide student of an accredited college or university including the United States Academies. The recipient must be in compliance with the bylaws defining an NCAA student athlete.”

Bush’s 2005 season records remain vacated by the NCAA and, as a result, under the rule set forth by the Heisman Trust and stated on the Heisman Ballot, he is not eligible to be awarded the 2005 Heisman Memorial Trophy. Should the NCAA reinstate Bush’s 2005 status, the Heisman Trust looks forward to welcoming him back to the Heisman family.

The Heisman Trophy Trust is a charitable organization dedicated to improving educational and athletic opportunities for the underserved youth in our communities and preserving the integrity of the Heisman Trophy.