One of the 18 players of the most recent class of the College Football Hall of Fame that was announced on Monday is Reggie Bush, whose 2005 Heisman Trophy victory for Southern California was overturned due to NCAA violations.
The National Football Foundation also chose Florida quarterback Tim Tebow, who won the Heisman Trophy in 2007, to join the Hall of Fame along with Dwight Freeney of Syracuse; Luke Kuechly of Boston College; LaMichael James of Oregon; and Michael Bishop of Kansas State.
Bush played for USC on two teams that won national championships in 2003 and 2004, and in 2005, he led the Trojans to another championship game by running for 1,740 yards, averaging 8.7 yards per carry, and scoring 19 touchdowns.
After a three-year college career in which he ran for 3,169 yards, averaging 7.3 yards per carry, and scored 42 touchdowns, he went on to be selected by the New Orleans Saints with the second overall pick in the NFL draft.
After that, the NCAA looked into Bush and USC and found that he and his family had received unconstitutional compensation from a marketing agent while playing for the Trojans.
In 2010, the NCAA slapped severe sanctions on USC. Following that, the Heisman Trust revoked Bush’s Heisman victory and demanded that he return the trophy.
USC was disassociated from Bush for ten years as one of the NCAA penalties. In 2020, that penalty was lifted, and the school welcomed Bush back.
The Heisman Trophy would only be reinstated if the NCAA reconsiders the sanctions imposed on Bush. Even though there have been calls to do so in light of today’s less stringent rules regarding athlete compensation for endorsement deals, the NCAA has stated that it will not be reevaluating previous cases of infractions.
Bush will be inducted into the Hall of Fame, despite the fact that he has yet to win the Heisman Trophy.
In recent years, the National Football Foundation, which runs the college Hall of Fame, has been more lenient toward coaches and players who have been involved in NCAA scandals.
In 2015, Jim Tressel, a former coach at Ohio State, was elected. Because he deceived NCAA investigators, the school he led to a national championship in 2011 forced him to resign.
In 2021, SMU running back Eric Dickerson was inducted into the Hall of Fame after decades of waiting. Although it was never determined that Dickerson had broken NCAA rules, his involvement with a program that was terminated in the middle of the 1980s for violations that occurred throughout his time at the school was sufficient to keep him out.
The remaining members of the latest class of college Hall of Famers are: Tennessee’s Eric Berry; Iowa’s Robert Gallery; Texas’ Derrick Johnson; Montana State’s Bill Kollar; Missouri’s Jeremy Maclin; New Mexico’s Terance Mathis; Miami’s Bryant McKinnie; Virginia Tech’s Corey Moore; Notre Dame student Michael Stonebreaker; Wisconsin’s Troy Vincent; Villanova’s Brian Westbrook; and Memphis’ DeAngelo Williams.
Monte Cater of Shepherd will be one of the four coaches inducted into the Hall of Fame in December; Roy Kramer, the Central Michigan coach who became the commissioner of the Southeastern Conference; Mark Richt, the Georgia and Miami head coach; and the expert on triple-options, Paul Johnson, who worked at Georgia Tech, Navy, and Georgia Southern.