by Christopher Mohr
September 17, 2010 (La Mesa) - Former Helix High School football standout Reggie Bush has decided to forfeit the Heisman Trophy that he won in 2005 while playing for the University of Southern California. Bush's decision comes before the Heisman Trophy Trust, the award's governing body, was expected to vote to strip Bush of his award. It marks the first time in the trophy's 75 year history that it has been forfeited.
The forfeiture comes in the wake of NCAA sanctions imposed on USC for improper gifts and benefits that Bush and his family received from two sports agents during the last two years of his collegiate athletic career. The NCAA put USC on four years probation, declared the team ineligible to play in bowl games for the next two seasons and reduced the number of scholarships the team could offer. The school removed murals and a jersey of Bush as well as a replica copy of his Heisman trophy from its famed Heritage Hall.
Bush's forfeiture of the Heisman raises the possibility that he may lose other awards he won during the 2005 season. However, there are currently no reports of other pending award revocations.
Prior to surrendering the trophy, Bush was among other San Diego area football stars who won the Heisman: Marcus Allen (Lincoln High, San Diego), Rashan Salaam (La Jolla Country Day) and Ricky Williams (Patrick Henry, San Diego). The award is given annually to the best NCAA football player based on ballot totals. The voters are made up of 870 media voters from six regions across the United States, with each containing 145 votes; former Heisman award winners (there were 55 in 2009) and one vote from the general public for a total of 926 votes.
Bush, who now plays in the NFL for the New Orleans Saints, was a standout running back at Helix High School, where he played through the 2002 season. His head coach at the time, Gordon Wood, is now a principal at an elementary school in the Lake Elsinore school district. Wood had little to say other than to express his support of Bush: "My only comment is that I love Reggie Bush, I have no comment on the other stuff. I support him and I love him."
Brandon Lewis, quarterback for the current Helix football team, felt that Bush played so long ago at Helix that his giving up the trophy was not a dominant topic of conversation on campus, but that there was still solid support for him.
"There was a little talk, but [he's] a little far removed, of course he's an alum, [the controversy] doesn't affect him as a player, we still love Reggie, he went to our school. It's not like we hate him or anything, he's still our Reggie."
Former University of Texas quarterback Vince Young, currently playing in the NFL for the Tennnessee Titans, was the runner-up to Bush in the award voting in 2005. Numerous rumors and speculation in recent news about Young receiving the award persisted. However, the Heisman Trophy Trust announced earlier today that the trophy will not be re-awarded, and will instead be vacated with no 2005 winner.