September 14th, 2010
05:06 PM ET

Reggie Bush to forfeit 2005 Heisman Trophy

Former University of Southern California star running back Reggie Bush has decided to forfeit the Heisman Trophy he won in 2005, according to a statement on the website of his pro team, the New Orleans Saints.

The decision comes two months after the NCAA ruled Bush had violated rules by accepting gifts, cash and other benefits while he played for USC - violations that would have affected his eligibility.

"The persistent media speculation regarding allegations dating back to my years at USC has been both painful and distracting," Bush said in Tuesday's statement.

"In no way should the storm around these allegations reflect in any way on the dignity of this award, nor on any other institutions or individuals. Nor should it distract from outstanding performances and hard-earned achievements either in the past, present or future."

Last week, Yahoo Sports reported that two sources close to the Heisman Trust, which oversees the award given to college football's top player, claimed the trust eventually would rule it agrees with the NCAA's assessment that Bush was ineligible to play during 2005 - and therefore would strip the trophy from Bush.

The NCAA infractions committee in June also levied heavy penalties against USC's football program, vacating its 13 wins, include the team's Orange Bowl victory against the Oklahoma Sooners, taking away 30 school scholarships and banning USC from bowl games for two years.

In his statement, Bush said winning the Heisman was one of the greatest honors of his life.

"But I know that the Heisman is not mine alone. Far from it," Bush said. "I know that my victory was made possible by the discipline and hard work of  my teammates, the steady guidance of my coaches, the inspiration of the fans and the unconditional love of my family and friends.

"And I know that any young man fortunate enough to win the Heisman enters into a family of sorts. Each individual carries the legacy of the award and each one is entrusted with its good name.

"It is for these reasons that I have made the difficult decision to forfeit my title as Heisman winner of 2005."

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  1. ASH

    What a shame. All's he had to do was play by the rules. I do understand temptation and getting things that you could never have before but this really is a shame.

    September 14, 2010 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Seriously

      You clearly dont know how college football administrations operate if you think this was all HIS decision. Google college fundraising and boosters.

      September 14, 2010 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • SaundraD

      Where were his advisors? His coach is now making big money in the NFL while the school pays the price and Reggie pays the price. Going from Nothing to All is difficult for the best of people. It's just a shame.

      September 14, 2010 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Me

      I accepted gifts when I played Div 1 basketball so what the big deal. Is it wrong that he got caught or someone gave him a gift?

      September 14, 2010 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • cul8rv8

      Yeah, Reggie is paying the price. A Super Bowl ring, 8 million dollar salary for 2010, Kim Kardashian as your ex, all while simply being a backup running back. What a price he had to pay....

      September 14, 2010 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • tex

      Uh, Reggie is paying the price? Pretty sure he's making quite a bit more money than his former USC coach. Reggie cheated and got caught. Plain and simple.

      I hope they go ahead and send the trophy over to VY in Tennessee.

      September 14, 2010 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • DC in LA

      Great! Now Bush can help USC's other Heisman winner (OJ Simpson) look for the "real killer"

      September 14, 2010 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • George Jetson

      @ME: Then you're a lousy no good cheat too!

      September 14, 2010 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • NebraskaCub

      What a shame that the NCAA is still able to profit off of these guys and the players can't do a damn thing about it. I can't wait for the day when universities decide to leave the NCAA and form their own league. These players work their butts off and the universities and NCAA is making millions and then they get upset because they received "gifts." Please what a joke the NCAA is becoming.

      September 14, 2010 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shawn

      OMG?! somebody made some money off their talents?! how dare they! Come on the NCAA does this because Bush got served a cake and NCAA is crying cause they weren't offered a piece with extra icing.

      September 14, 2010 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • bigb19


      I like your comment. Bush should have played by the rules, but, he did not.

      DC in LA,

      your comment is MISGUIDED and a reference to a FRUSTRATION you're harboring against O.J. Simpson. The article is not about O.J. Simpson.

      You wrote, "now he (Reggie Bush) can help USC's other Heisman Trophy winner (O.J. Simpson), ad nauseum. The University of Southern California has had SEVEN Heisman Trophy winners including Bush and Simpson. They are:
      Matt Leinart – 2004
      Carson Palmer – 2002
      Marcus Allen – 1981
      Charles White – 1979
      Mike Garrett – 1965

      Again, it's too bad Bush didn't play by the rules. That's the article's point. LOL!!!!!

      September 14, 2010 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cartwright

      to the former div. 1 basketball player. it was wrong that he was given a gift and it was extremely wrong for him to accept any and all gifts. it's inconvenient for him, his team, USC and it's fans that he broke the rules that so many other players have to abide by, but not all do. and not all get caught. but he did. therefore, USC pays the ultimate price.

      imho, there should be an extremely strict law that prohibits agents from contacting college athletes for any reason until said player has made their intentions public that they'll forfeit any remaining eligibility to enter the draft.

      you may never get caught. you're already hiding behind a moniker that you broke the rules. you'll likely never man up to your indiscretions against your school until it benefits you. enjoy life, cheater.

      September 14, 2010 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Elisea

      I agree! Where were his advisors? It is a shame. I do agree ethics is important. But I have heard horror stories of kids playing for colleges who just do not have enough money to support themselves. They may get a sport scholarship but it does take a little more money to survive o a college campus beyond what the scholarship provides. Are these players allowed to work and have a job? I don't think so...! This is unlike other students on campuses across the country.

      September 14, 2010 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cartwright

      nebraskacub, i disagree. c'mon, man.. i hate the NCAA as much as you probably. this isn't about the NCAA making money off players. it's about equality. how the hell are some schools like Iowa State, Ole Miss, even smaller schools like Boise State, TCU, Cincinnati suppose to compete with the Texas', USC's, Florida's, etc... and their resources to pay athletes? that's what this is about.

      being a husker fan, (i s'pose), i'm sure you understand the money that the Longhorns bring. y'all put your tails between your legs and bolted for the Big 10 where you have a better chance to win championships again. see you October 16th.

      September 14, 2010 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • GeeWizz

      I think it was more than temptation for a “[student] athlete“… What were USC’s entrance SAT scores for 2005? What was Reggie Bush’s major and did he graduate? Is academia supporting students that can’t make it by their own will, passion and great effort and saying it‘s OK? If this keeps up our country might elect a [p]resident that doesn’t remember his high school years and ran for Congress unchallenged because Harvard made it so… Ooops it happened. Tell Reggie to keep the Heisman Trophy and the media will justify what happened!

      September 14, 2010 at 7:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • sandra

      Ash, you are correct. All he had to do was play by the rules. And to the person calling themselves "Me" – if you dont know what the big deal is, I am sorry for you. The fact that you accepted gifts when you played basketball should have consequences. If you dont know the difference between doing something that you know is wrong and being caught doing it makes me wonder how many people out there do not have honor and integrity. Life is worth living if you do the right thing, simply because it is the right thing. Not because you are afraid you will be caught or because you think if you do the wrong thing you will 'win' somehow. Most of the time I hear people justifying their actions, words or decisions with "I gotta do unto others before they do unto me" or "gotta get The Man". Believe me, you think you are getting away with something but you are just giving more power to The Man. Just like those who buy and take illegal drugs are actively supporting the drug cartels who are gunning down innocent men, women and children in their own streets and homes – and beheading people. Think what the long term consequences of your actions are – and not just how they affect you personally. Reggie has lost a lot of respect from many people – not because he "got caught doing what everybody else does" (which is not true anyway) – but because he did the wrong thing in the first place and at his age he should have known better! Temptation and peer pressure should never be a reason to do something. Nor should greed.

      September 15, 2010 at 8:42 am | Report abuse |
  2. Jamie

    Can someone please explain this to me? Isn't he still the same trophy-worthy athlete whether he received financial contributions or not? Is not like he used steroids. The gifts make absolutely no difference in his performance.

    September 14, 2010 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • bohunkfootball

      Its just those pesky rules...that are for all the other people that always get in the way

      September 14, 2010 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • mvd7793

      I completely agree. I also think that penalties shouldn't be leveled at USC.

      September 14, 2010 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chase

      because he accepted gifts, according to NCAA rules he should not have been eligible to play in 2005 therefore never should have been considered for the Heisman Trophy.

      September 14, 2010 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • D

      I thought everyone knew in sports today, that CHARACTER is apart of any award.

      September 14, 2010 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Will

      Jamie, by accepting those gifts he became ineligible to play college sports and therefore, ineligible for any college football awards.

      September 14, 2010 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chad

      It has nothing to do with his ability or inability or whatever. But he broke the rulles and would have been ineligible to begin with if he would have gotten caught beforehand which obviously is the same as not being able to win the trophy. I hate people having sympathy for people like this. They are no better than anyone else and cant be rewarded when they break the rules espescially when they have the opporunity of a lifetime that most of us wish we had!

      September 14, 2010 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      To be eligible to receive the Heisman award the player must be in good standing with the NCAA and at the time Bush was not. Therefore he was ineligible to receive the award in the first place.

      September 14, 2010 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cal

      Yeah, I don't know, cheating is cheating, no other definition right? If you're taking contributions, that's against the rules and is considered cheating. Should one be rewarded for that? Although in the state I live in a couple of "university staffers" were writing reports and completing tests for ball-playing students in order to keep them eligible. In the end the "staffers" got the boot and the players "tested out", (or in) whatever that means, and got to continue to "play ball". How does that work?

      September 14, 2010 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      no he was not the same athlete, he may of got more sleep since he did not have to work, he could have gotten better prepaired for the game with a little Free money to help him along. Rules are Rules.

      September 14, 2010 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • mario

      i agree, its a little petty, when you consider pro players actually performing enhancing drugs and don't have to give up their awards, but honestly vince young should have gotten the award that year anyway, his numbers were a lot better than bush's

      September 14, 2010 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      then the real problem comes, what happens if one day the booster says, throw this game or I will rat you out.

      September 14, 2010 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • brandong

      If only Reggie Bush was a corporate vp or a hedge fund manager or a politician even, and not just a sports player, then he would of gotten away scott free, if history of punishment of wall street is any indicator. What a poor decision he made, playing football instead of being a money manager.

      September 14, 2010 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Don

      It's not a question of his performance; the problem is, there is no way of knowing if he would have won if other "professionals" (and once he accepted any unauthorized benefits, he became a professional as far as the NCAA is concerned) would have been allowed to play college football as well.

      September 14, 2010 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nishi

      They only takin it away because he's black. You can bet they wouldnt take Tom brady's trophy away! Racism is alive and well in America.

      September 14, 2010 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • George Jetson

      The difference is he was bought by a school.

      It's called a level playing field. Bush took money while other players weren't (at lest they didn't get caught ...). That makes him a no good cheater (along with those that gave him the money/gifts/whatever).

      September 14, 2010 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • be fair

      Accepting money or gifts by athletes, scientists, politicians, etc. creates a conflict of interest in which the donor now has a real or perceived influence upon the person accepting the gifts. "Play poorly" [so I can win this bet] or "take so-and-so out of commission" become believable scenarios when poor college athletes will do all kinds of things for more money. If rule breakers aren't held accountable for their infractions, the rules then become unenforceable for all other players and fair play becomes a thing of the past. USC program was ultimately responsible for the behavior of its players and will now be punished to make sure it and all other NCAA participants don't make this mistake again. Kudos for standing up.

      September 14, 2010 at 7:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • GeeWizz

      I completely agree with Jamie; perhaps Reggie Bush should sign his name with an “x” and write abstract thoughts with finger-paint.

      September 14, 2010 at 7:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Perry

      I totally agree with you, the gifts didn't perform on the field Reggie did. And this look like a case of the NCAA being an indian giver. Reggie take your Superbowl ring and contract and move on.

      September 15, 2010 at 6:22 am | Report abuse |
    • sandra

      Jamie – it is not just about the performance. When you win such a prestigious award, you are a role model too. Younger athletes look up to you. Look up the qualifications to be eligible for the award then see if you understand. Without those caveats it would just be another award – not THE award.

      September 15, 2010 at 8:45 am | Report abuse |
  3. Toni

    This is a joke! What on earth took so long?

    September 14, 2010 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jacqueline Padilla

    How self centered he was, is and will always be.

    September 14, 2010 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      It's called being an athlete

      September 14, 2010 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Zac

      Like every other human being on the planet. Being self-centered is part of the human condition... And every other creature on Earth, for that matter.

      September 14, 2010 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Perry

      If you were him you would be also? Money changes people.

      September 15, 2010 at 6:24 am | Report abuse |
  5. Dylan

    It's good that he's giving it back, but he knows what he did wrong without having to hear the NCAA ruling on the issue. He should have given it back sooner.

    September 14, 2010 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • bob

      or to a Sooner.

      September 14, 2010 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Regis990

      No, Bob, the Sooners would've gotten rolled by USC with or without Bush.

      September 14, 2010 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |

    haha just do your tires young man

    September 14, 2010 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Vince Young

    Thanks Reggie!

    September 14, 2010 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
  8. ditka

    who cares. give the guy his trophy.

    September 14, 2010 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • msgyrl

      Let 'em have the trophy - you have a Superbowl ring now! He can affort to buy a replica if it means that much...

      September 14, 2010 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • be fair

      Letting him keep his trophy after being found guilty would be spitting in the face of every athlete who followed the rules. It would also abolish all credibility of the NCAA. One of the biggest things that separates the USA from the second and third world is the relative absence of graft and adherance to rules. If you wish to live in a society with very slippery justice, move away and let some hard working person tired of crushing graft take your place. Do not start down the slippery slope.

      September 14, 2010 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Bush Hater

    Ha ha 🙂 Way to screw your team at USC as well....

    September 14, 2010 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kim Kardashian


      September 14, 2010 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Dylan

    Jamie, it matters because college athletes (or their families) aren't allowed to get paid OR receive gifts while still an amateur player. It doesn't affect his playing, but it's illegal.

    September 14, 2010 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ace23

      its not illegal. its against NCAA regulations, which are completely arbitrary.

      September 14, 2010 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Corkpuller

    He did all the running and scoring W/O any help. Is the NCAA going to give back all the money they got from his performance?

    September 14, 2010 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • QZ

      very good point...Wheres the money NCAAA!!!!

      September 14, 2010 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Me

      Actually he split carries with White. Wasn't the runner up in votes that year Vince Young? It is a shame that no player following the rules (or so we believe) gets the honor of reciving the award.

      September 14, 2010 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |

    What a shame? on who? i mean, you're a young kid, talented... takes a few gifts that were GIVEN to him and not ASKED for by him... i dont think its his fault.. its the boosters

    September 14, 2010 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Regis990

      How do you know Bush didn't ask for the gifts? In fact, how do you know that Bush didn't say "Pay me or I go somewhere else." You're assumption of Bush's innocence is foolish.

      September 14, 2010 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • To REGIS990

      How do you know Bush did ask for the gifts? In fact, how do you know that Bush did say "Pay me or I go somewhere else." You're assumption of Bush being guilty for these actions is foolish.

      September 14, 2010 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • rst

      It wasn't boosters! It was a wannabe agent which is why is so absurd to penalize SC. It was Reggie Bush and an outside agent involved – not SC. They walk away and SC is left with obscene penalties. Nice work Reggie and the ncaa.

      September 14, 2010 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
  13. thefrumpeter

    he would have got it all if he just waited until he could do it legally.
    now, all this does is teach other kids that you can cheat, still get paid and then act like you are sorry...The NFL should make an example of people like him and kick him out of the league, but we all know that ain't gonna happen. Symbolism over substance, they make a big deal of gawking at a hot chick, but cheaters (Bush), Rapists(Big Ben), Murders(Ray Lewis) and all the other felons get a slap on the wrist.
    Let's really clean up sports and get rid of any of these clowns who think they can do whatever they want simply because they are an athlete.

    September 14, 2010 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • manicho1

      You live in a Bubble–all players should receive some stipend for their contributions to these million dollar programs

      September 14, 2010 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hollander

      You forgot animal abuser Vicks

      September 14, 2010 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • what?

      Mancho – They get that thing called a "free ride" for 4 years, that "should" be enough. Once you get that degree, that can't be taken away – unlike that trophy....

      September 14, 2010 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • msgyrl

      Lighten's just a trophy - like I said before – He's got a ring now! Just like Kim K, that trophy can be passed on to sit on someone else's shelf ...-:) - oh...and she's still waiting for a ring 🙂

      September 14, 2010 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • be fair

      These athletes in big programs get scholorships to help them get a real (?) bachelor's degree and then have free tutors who force them to study so they don't flunk out of college (and concurrently the football program). When they are done with their 4 years (or some kind of degree) and if they did very well, that time sets them up for the draft, which may land them a multimillion dollar contract. Being paid for their performances as rookies during school on top of all that? Give me a break! I PAID to attend college myself and lived uber cheaply while there. If someone paid my tuition, you bet I'd do something for them. Besides, we know his degree is good because there wasn't a single phrase in Ebonics from his speech.

      September 14, 2010 at 7:26 pm | Report abuse |
  14. alex

    Why should Bush be punished for the sins and corruption of the university. If you were in his situation at the time could you really say you would turn it down? regardless of the money, Bush won the trophy because of his talent not his ethics

    September 14, 2010 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • bohunkfootball

      HELLO!!...all these schools..spend ALOT of time explaining to these guys what they can..and cant take.

      September 14, 2010 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bruce Lee

      Do you think that it's okay for govt officials to take kickbacks when awarding contracts? Perhaps they are just deal makers. If ethics isn't the issue, then what is?

      September 14, 2010 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • rst

      "Why should Bush be punished for the sins and corruption of the university."

      Are you serious? The university had nothing to do with this – repeat nothing to do with this. You obviously have no idea what the accusations were even about. It was Reggie Bush and an outside agent involved. The school took the heat which is why it's all so absurd.

      September 14, 2010 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Nathan

    Ya, he is the same worthy "athlete" as far as performance, which is what makes this so sad. But, he broke rules and if the NCAA had found out before his trophy run in 2005 then it would have went to Vince Young because Bush would have been ineligible. I guess it needs to go to an athlete who follows all the rules instead of 80%, Bush knew he would be a millionaire anyway come the draft. He should have known better than to take financial gifts.

    September 14, 2010 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
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