USC football’s NCAA-mandated disassociation of Reggie Bush should end at 10 years.
It has been nine years and 364 days since USC football was hit with major NCAA infractions, forcing the disassociation of Heisman-winner Reggie Bush, among other major penalties.
Wednesday, June 10 will be the 10-year anniversary of the penalties being levied. And Wednesday should be the day the disassociation ends.
The NCAA never put a formal or public timeframe on the disassociation of Bush but the 10-year mark should be a significant one that hopefully leads to a change in status.
USC football should be allowed to welcome Reggie Bush back.
Arguably the most high-profile disassociation of note for another program was Chris Webber’s from Michigan. It was stated outright as a 10-year separation which ended in 2013. The basketball star who was found to have accepted illegal benefits from a Wolverine’s booster has since been allowed back in the fold since then. He was even invited to be an honorary captain at a Michigan football game by head coach Jim Harbaugh in 2018.
There are reasons to expect Bush’s disassociation to end on Wednesday or the near future. Last year then-interim athletic director Dave Roberts told Ryan Young of TrojanSports.com that the disassociation would indeed expire this summer.
However, new athletic director Mike Bohn hasn’t publicly commented on the impending anniversary.
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Bush managed to make his way into the Coliseum in 2019 as an analyst for FOX’s studio show, but even that created uncertainty. If the NCAA and USC do the right thing, he should be able to show his face at the Coliseum, not just in a professional capacity.
It goes further than just allowing Bush’s presence. Given what we know about the nature of college sports, the sheer number of former players who have acknowledged or hinted at receiving extra benefits without punishment and the lighter sanctions doled out for subsequent college football scandals, Bush’s legacy should be restored entirely.
Bush’s sins and the sins of his family can’t be wiped away, but the impact of the devastating sanctions that followed should be placed at the feet of the overzealous NCAA. None of it cancels out his prominent role in one of the most successful runs in college football history and or the way his name, number and highlights have helped recruit dozens of talented stars to USC over the past 15 years.
The Trojans should officially re-retire his No. 5 jersey and display it at the Coliseum with the other Heisman winners.
And while they’re at it, USC should officially petition the Heisman Trust to restore Bush’s status as a recipient. If Troy Smith, Johnny Manziel, Jameis Winston, Cam Newton and others remain in good standing, so should Bush.
That statue should be back in Heritage Hall where it belongs. And Bush should be back at USC, where he belongs.
UPDATE — Kyle Bonagura of ESPN reported on Tuesday evening that USC is expected to reinstate Bush after the NCAA disassociation ends on Wednesday.
Sources told Bonagura that “the former Heisman Trophy winner is in the process of finalizing an agreement that would allow him to be reinstated with the school.”