USC to end decade-long disassociation with Reggie Bush

After the NCAA changed its policy on college athletes receiving compensation for their image and likeness, university reconnects with star player

After 10 years, the University of Southern California is ready to renew its relationship with former running back, Reggie Bush.

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Running back Reggie Bush #5 of the USC Trojans, winner of the 2005 Heisman trophy, speaks with the media at the 71st Annual Heisman Ceremony on December 10, 2005 in New York City. (Photo by Stephen Chernin/Getty Images)

After 10 years, the University of Southern California is ready to renew its relationship with former running back Reggie Bush.

Bush and USC were sanctioned after a four-year-long investigation that found that Bush and his family accepted improper benefits from two sports marketers. USC was stripped of its 2004 Orange Bowl championship trophy.

READ MORE: California to let college athletes make money, defying NCAA

In addition to the stripping of the trophy, the university was given four years probation, scholarship reductions, and was ordered to remove Bush’s image from campus and all school-related publications.

Bush went on to be drafted by the New Orleans Saints.

Over the last few years, public sentiment toward the NCAA and paying college athletes for their contributions has begun to shift. The NCAA’s Committee on Infractions has made a subtle change to its policy and reduced Bush’s permanent ban to a decade-long disassociation instead. That disassociation ends now.

The University of Southern California has previously said that they would welcome Bush back to be a part of the campus and football team legacy. Former USC coach Pete Carroll had previously denounced the harshness of the sanctions.

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Reggie Bush #5 of the USC Trojans prays in the middle of the field before the game against the California Golden Bears on October 9, 2004 at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

“What I hope comes out of this is that this never happens to a university again,” he said in a telephone interview with the LA Times. “I think it was extraordinarily overdone, an overreaction.”

The coach said that he “never thought there were any facts that supported significant sanctions.”

In an interview with Yahoo News, former USC linebacker Keith Rivers said, “We basically got the death penalty.”

LenDale White, who also played with Bush, told Yahoo that he never blamed Bush, instead he blamed the NCAA system, which makes millions of dollars off student-athletes leaving them and their families with nothing.

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A Houston Texans fan hold a sign suggesting the Texans will draft running back Reggie Bush of USC in thre game with the Arizona Cardinals on December 18, 2005 at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

READ MORE: NCAA to allow athletes to earn cash on their names, images and likeness

“You can’t be mad at a kid,” White said. “Your jersey done sold 1,000 times in a single day, and you gotta borrow money from your teammates to get a dollar burger from Wendy’s? Look, I don’t blame Reggie at all, so much as I blame the so-called higher-ups, the people who are supposed to save us at that point.”

Last year, the NCAA Board of Governors has taken the first step toward allowing athletes to cash in on their fame. The board voted unanimously to clear the way for the amateur athletes to “benefit from the use of their name, image, and likeness.”

The renewed relationship with Bush and USC may mean a new day in the future of college sports where athletes may one day be able to earn a profit off their name and image.

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