In 2005 University of Southern California running back Reggie Bush won the Heisman Trophy. The Heisman Trophy Trust gives the award annually to the football player the trust deems to be the “most outstanding” college athlete.

Well now Reggie Bush apparently didn’t win it. According to an article by ESPN’s Ted Miller:

In June, the NCAA ruled running back Reggie Bush retroactively ineligible when he won the Heisman Trophy in 2005 because he was breaking rules by receiving extra benefits from would-be sports agents, so USC is giving back the tainted trophy as part of its plan to disassociate the university from Bush, now with the New Orleans Saints.

[USC president-elect Max] Nikias also said USC would take down [athletic department jerseys and] murals featuring Bush.

Back in his college career Bush and his family received lavish presents from wannabe sports agent Lloyd Lake, in violation of the National Collegiate Athletic Association rules for student athletes. In June the NCAA severely reprimanded USC and its athletic program for exercising a “lack of institutional control” over Bush’s career during his time at the school. The NCAA also told USC to “dissociate” itself from Bush.

While understandable, this sort of behavior is troublesome. It strikes me as very Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Bush was an amazing athlete and he actually won the Heisman trophy in 2005. If the criteria used to select the Heisman winner allows people to get away with accepting illegal gifts, alter the criteria. Don’t simply retroactively weaken Bush’s time at USC. The Trojans website now has a page on Bush that does not note his Heisman win or the scandal surrounding it, thus preventing anyone from learning from the example.

Bush will continue to play running back for the New Orleans Saints. [Image via]

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer