Former USC running back Reggie Bush is unlikely to get his Heisman Tropy back. A NCAA spokesperson told Kyle Bonagura of ESPN on Wednesday that college athletics's governing body will not reconsider any past penalties that would otherwise be allowed today under newly-implemented name, image and likeness laws.
"Although college athletes can now receive benefits from their names, images and likenesses through activities like endorsements and appearances, NCAA rules still do not permit pay-for-play type arrangements," the spokesperson said. "The NCAA infractions process exists to promote fairness in college sports. The rules that govern fair play are voted on, agreed to and expected to be upheld by all NCAA member schools."
Earlier in July, the Heisman Trust said it would gladly welcome Bush back to the Heisman family should the NCAA reinstate his records from the 2005 season. The Trust cited its eligibility requirements, which state that a "recipient must be in compliance with the bylaws defining an NCAA student athlete."
Bush is not counted among the Trust's 85 winners after his 2005 award was vacated -- and forfeited on his end in 2010 -- following the NCAA's investigation into impermissible benefits he received while with the Trojans. The NCAA recently settled a 10-year defamation lawsuit with Bush's former position coach, Todd McNair, for his role in the infractions case.
Now that the NCAA has weighed in, effectively (but not surprisingly) putting an end to any hope of restoring Bush's records, the onus switches back to the Trust to change its own rules. Similarly, that is unlikely, but not impossible, to happen.