Former USC running back Reggie Bush was formally welcomed back to the Trojans, who had been disassociated from the program for 10 years after the NCAA brought down massive sanctions on the Trojans in 2010. USC president Carol L. Folt told Bush as much on Wednesday, in a letter that the university agreed to post publicly.
Folt 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.”
In a release from the program, Bush expressed his gratitude: “I’ve dreamed of this day for 10-plus years, and I’m excited to come home!” he said.
The NCAA decided that when he was a student-athlete at USC, Bush ‘s family earned additional perks, mandating that he be disassociated from the system as part of the probation he handed down to university. A $600,000 house near San Diego, and a $10,000 allowance to furnish the house were among those benefits. Bush had to return his 2005 Heisman Trophy, USC also had 30 scholarships docked and as a result of the investigation, the Trojans were forced to vacate the 2004 national championship.
USC AD Mike Bohn said, “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 meant to our former players, USC alumni, and fans everywhere. I have enjoyed getting to know Reggie Bush and so many of his teammates, and I am pleased his disassociation has ended so 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.”
In 2017, the NCAA’s Infractions Committee adopted a rule that any NCAA-mandated disassociation from a school can last only 10 years, rather than indefinitely. From there it is up to the program, according to CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd, to determine whether to encourage a licensed player or coach to return to being part of their activities either on or off the field.
The sanctions imposed by the NCAA against USC were handed down on June 10, 2010, making Wednesday 10 years into the day of the initial sentence. According to the Los Angeles Times, USC had sought to reinstate Bush into the system three times after the sanctions were imposed in an October 2019 Daily Trojan report.
“USC has long said that we would love to have Reggie back around campus but the NCAA has mandated the school permanently disassociate from Reggie,” said Tim Tessalone, USC spokesman at the time. “If we did so, it would lead to further NCAA penalties. We have tried several times to appeal the permanent disassociation with no luck. We would love to have him back.”
Bush had maintained that he wants to be involved again with USC.
Despite the disassociation, the NCAA granted an exception relating to work and allowed Reggie Bush to return to USC as part of his television duties with Fox in September 2019.
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