USC welcomes back Reggie Bush after 10 years in NCAA exile

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AP2005

FILE - In this Nov. 19, 2005, file photo, Southern California tail back Reggie Bush walks off the field holding the game ball after the Trojans defeated Fresno State, 50-42, at the Los Angeles Coliseum. The former star running back had been prohibited from interacting in an official capacity with the school he played for from 2003-05 since NCAA sanctions handed down in 2010. Bush and USC were penalized for him and his family receiving impermissible benefits while he was still in school. USC President Carol Folt wrote in a letter to Bush on Wednesday, June 10, 2020, that he could now be afforded the privileges and courtesies extended to all Trojan football alums.(AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian, File)

Reggie Bush was the centerpiece of Southern California's last football dynasty. He inspired players to become Trojans and continued to be adored by USC fans while spending a decade in NCAA-mandated exile from the school.

USC welcomed back Bush on Wednesday, 10 years to the day the NCAA slammed the program with sanctions that included cutting off official ties to the only Heisman Trophy winner to have his victory vacated.

“I’ve dreamed of this day for 10-plus years, and I’m excited to come home!” Bush said in a statement.

Bush played running back at USC from 2003-05, helping the Trojans to a pair of national championships. Five years after he was gone, Bush and USC were penalized by the NCAA after an investigation determined he and his family received impermissible benefits while he was still in school.

USC President Carol Folt wrote in a letter to Bush that all restrictions had been officially removed and he could now “be afforded the privileges and courtesies extended to all Trojan football alums.”

The school also ended its disassociation with former basketball star O.J. Mayo, who was also sanctioned in 2010 for receiving impermissible benefits as part of the same broad investigation into USC athletics.

Bush's Trojans teams won national championships in 2003 and '04 and had a 34-game winning streak. He ran for 3,169 yards in three seasons, averaging 7.3 yards per carry, and scored 42 touchdowns.

He won the 2005 Heisman, with 1,740 yards rushing and an 8.7-yard average per carry. But the award was vacated because of the NCAA sanctions. He voluntarily returned the statue to the Heisman Trophy Trust before the organization had a chance to strip him of it. Bush is the only Heisman winner to not be recognized by the Heisman Trust.