Former USC running back Reggie Bush, who had been disassociated from the program for 10 years after the NCAA brought down massive sanctions on the Trojans in 2010, has formally been welcomed back to the Trojans. USC president Carol L. Folt informed Bush as much in a letter the university decided to share publicly on Wednesday.
"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," Folt wrote.
Bush expressed his gratitude in a release from the program: "I've dreamed of this day for 10-plus years, and I'm excited to come home!" he said.
The NCAA determined that Bush's family received extra benefits while he was a student-athlete at USC, mandating that he be disassociated from the program as part of the punishment it handed down to the university. Among those benefits were a $600,000 house near San Diego and a $10,000 allowance to furnish the home. Bush had to return his 2005 Heisman Trophy, USC was also docked 30 scholarships, and the Trojans was forced to vacate the 2004 national championship as a result of the investigation.
"When I was hired to represent the Trojan Family as the Director of Athletics, I committed to listening and learning before leading," USC AD Mike Bohn said. "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. 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."
The NCAA's Committee on Infractions adopted a rule in 2017 that any NCAA-mandated disassociation from a school can only last 10 years rather than indefinitely. From there, it is up to the program to decide whether to allow a sanctioned player or coach can return to being part of its efforts either on or off the field, according to CBS Sports' Dennis Dodd.
The NCAA's sanctions against USC were handed down on June 10, 2010, making Wednesday 10 years to the day of the initial penalty. USC had tried to reinstate Bush to the program three times since the sanctions were levied, according to the Los Angeles Times via an October 2019 report from the Daily Trojan.
"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," USC spokesman Tim Tessalone said 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 would like to be involved with USC again.
Despite the disassociation, the NCAA granted a work-related exception and allowed Bush to return to USC in September 2019 as part of his television duties with Fox.