USC officially ends disassociation with Reggie Bush after 10 years of NCAA-enforced exile

Jack Baer
·4 min read

Reggie Bush is officially welcome at USC again.

The school announced Wednesday that the star running back has been “welcomed back to the Trojan Family” after a 10-year NCAA-mandated disassociation. That 10-year period ended Wednesday.

Bush was informed of the news in a letter from USC president Carol Folt, who wrote, “I am pleased to inform you that all restrictions and prohibitions on your involvement in our athletics program are officially removed and you will be afforded the privileges and courtesies extended to all Trojan football alumni.”

“I have dreamed of this day for 10-plus years and I’m excited to come home!” Bush said.

Bush’s disassociation from USC was part of the major penalties the school received from the NCAA in 2010 after an investigation found Bush received impermissible benefits from marketing agents while he was with the Trojans. The investigation, which came after a lengthy investigation by Yahoo Sports, also resulted in the return of Bush’s Heisman Trophy.

Over the 10-year disassociation, Bush has not been allowed onto USC’s campus or involved with the Trojan athletic department in any way. Asterisks are all over his presence on the USC media guide, though USC does not publicly invoke his name in many other ways.

Bush has been back on campus as a member of the media, but can now return in any capacity he chooses. Mike Bohn, USC’s athletic director, said Bush means a lot to the fans and former USC players.

“When I was hired to represent the Trojan Family as the Director of Athletics, I committed to listening and learning before leading. Throughout this process, one of the consistent themes that emerged from my discussions was how much Reggie Bush means to our former players, USC alumni, and fans everywhere,” Bohn said.

“I’ve enjoyed getting to know Reggie and so many of his teammates, and I’m pleased his disassociation has ended so that we can welcome him back to our family. I’m confident that Reggie will use his incredible platform and influential voice to support and empower all of our student-athletes.”

NCAA rule change allowed Reggie Bush’s return

Bush’s disassociation was supposed to permanent, but a rule change last year opened the door for Bush’s return.

The NCAA Committee on Infractions reportedly decided last year to no longer “monitor or enforce” disassociations after a 10-year period, leaving it to the schools to decide how to handle their exiled athletes.

FILE - In this Nov. 19, 2005, file photo, Southern California tail back Reggie Bush walks off the field holding the game ball after the Trojans defeated Fresno State, 50-42, at the Los Angeles Coliseum. USC set a record by going 33 straight polls as No. 1 from 2003-05. The Trojans weren’t just the best team in college football, they were also arguably the coolest, with the charismatic, laid-back Carroll leading stars like quarterback Matt Leinart and running back Reggie Bush to victory after victory.  (AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian, File)
Reggie Bush could soon be welcomed back at USC. (AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian, File)

Bush had already been back to the USC campus as part of Fox’s “Big Noon Kickoff” last season, which was allowed due to professional nature of the visit. Bush has not hidden how much he would like to return to the school for real:

From The Athletic last August:

“I assume it would be amazing,” Bush said. “Not to pat myself on the back, but a lot of the kids still commit there based off what we did when we were there in college. I still talk to a lot of guys there. I still have relationships with a lot of people there. I hear stories where guys come to USC and they want to wear my jersey or they want to meet me. So, I’m flattered and I appreciate it. I think it speaks volumes to if you work hard enough, you’ll be able to achieve it.”

Bush won the Heisman Trophy at USC

Bush was one of the nation’s biggest stars in his three years at USC, putting up 3,169 yards rushing, catching 95 passes for 1,301 yards and combining for 43 total touchdowns.

Bush helped USC win the national title as a sophomore in 2004 before winning the Heisman Trophy as a junior. That season, he rushed for 1,740 yards and 16 touchdowns, caught 37 passes for 478 yards and beat out Texas quarterback Vince Young in the Heisman voting.

Bush was forced to forfeit his Heisman by the NCAA as part of the severe sanctions levied against the USC program. The NCAA also vacated all the games Bush played while ineligible, including the 2005 Orange Bowl that gave the Trojans the national title.

Whether Bush will have his Heisman Trophy returned to him is yet to be determined.

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