Reggie Bush, whose Heisman Trophy victory for Southern California in 2005 was vacated because of NCAA violations, was among 18 players in the latest College Football Hall of Fame class announced Monday.
Florida quarterback Tim Tebow, who won the Heisman in 2007, was also elected to the hall by the National Football Foundation, along with Dwight Freeney of Syracuse; Luke Kuechly of Boston College; LaMichael James of Oregon; and Michael Bishop of Kansas State.
Bush played on two national championship teams with USC in 2003 and ’04, and led the Trojans to another title game in 2005, a season in which he won the Heisman with a spectacular season. He ran for 1,740 yards, averaged 8.7 yards per carry and scored 19 touchdowns.
He went to become the second overall pick in the NFL draft by the New Orleans Saints after a college career that saw him run for 3,169 yards in three seasons, averaging 7.3 yards per carry, and score 42 touchdowns.
The NCAA later investigated USC and Bush and determined he and his family had received impermissible benefits from a marketing agent while playing for the Trojans.
The NCAA hit USC with severe sanctions in 2010 and later the Heisman Trust vacated Bush’s Heisman victory and asked him to return his trophy.
Among the NCAA penalties, USC disassociated with Bush for 10 years. That sanction lifted in 2020 and Bush was welcomed back by the school.
The Heisman win remains vacated, saying it would only return the award if the NCAA reconsiders the penalties against Bush. The NCAA has said it will not be re-evaluating old infractions cases, though there have been calls do to so in light of today’s less-restrictive rules around athlete compensation for endorsement deals.
While Reggie Bush is still not a Heisman winner in the official record books, he will be a Hall of Famer.
The National Football Foundation, which runs the college hall, has been more lenient in recent years regarding players and coaches who have been attached to NCAA scandals.
Former Ohio State coach Jim Tressel was elected in 2015. He was forced to resign by the school he led to a national championship in 2011 for misleading NCAA investigators.
SMU running back Eric Dickerson waited decades before going into the Hall of Fame in 2021. Dickerson was never found to have broken NCAA rules, but his association with a program that was shut down in the mid-1980s for violations that spanned his time at the school was enough to keep him out.
The rest of the latest class of college Hall of Famers includes: Eric Berry of Tennessee; Robert Gallery of Iowa; Derrick Johnson of Texas; Bill Kollar of Montana State; Jeremy Maclin of Missouri; Terrance Mathis of New Mexico; Bryant McKinnie of Miami; Corey Moore of Virginia Tech; Michael Stonebreaker of Notre Dame; Troy Vincent of Wisconsin; Brian Westbrook of Villanova; and DeAngelo Williams of Memphis.
The four coaches to be inducted into the Hall of Fame in December are Monte Cater of Shepherd; Roy Kramer, the Central Michigan coach who became Southeastern Conference commissioner; Mark Richt, who coached Georgia and Miami; and triple-option guru Paul Johnson, who had stints at Georgia Southern, Navy and Georgia Tech.
By RALPH D. RUSSO AP College Football Writer
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Photo: © Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen / USA TODAY NETWORK