Former USC running back Reggie Bush is reuniting with the program that thrust him into superstardom as his dissociation officially ended after a decade on Tuesday.
USC is reinstating Bush after the ban, which ends Wednesday. An NCAA Committee on Infractions rule that was adopted in 2017 is helping drive the end to the dissociation, as the rule limits a dissociation from a school and individual to 10 years.
“I’ve dreamed of this day for 10+ years, and I’m excited to come home!" Bush said in a news release by the school.
The NCAA ruled in 2010 that the Trojans' athletic program had to permanently dissociate from Bush, who won the Heisman Trophy in 2005 before it was vacated five years later, after an investigation determined he had received cash and impermissible benefits from sports marketers. USC also vacated its wins from 2004 and 2005, including the national title in '04.
The NCAA put the Trojans on four years' probation, barred them from playing in bowl games after the 2010 and 2011 seasons and docked them 10 scholarships for three consecutive seasons. Bush later returned his Heisman Trophy, the only athlete to ever do so.
In a letter to Bush Tuesday, President Carol L. Folt wrote: “I am pleased to inform you that all restrictions and prohibitions on your involvement in our athletics program are officially removed and you will be afforded the privileges and courtesies extended to all Trojan football alumni.”
Bush's legacy was widely erased from the program, as his name, stats and accomplishments were all listed with asterisks, and the 35-year-old was not allowed to be on campus in any capacity unless it was work-related. Once the NCAA's 10-year period concludes, COI procedures deem that the NCAA will no longer enforce a dissociation and will give schools the freedom to decide on future relationships with former dissociated players.
“It’s definitely long overdue,” former teammate LenDale White told the Los Angeles Times. “Reggie should’ve never been in this situation, considering he was a kid when this went on. We’re 35 years old now. I definitely believe it’s time.”
Bush, who went on to play 11 NFL seasons and win a Super Bowl with the Saints, returned to Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for the first time in a decade last September to call a game for Fox Sports in a working capacity.
"Not to pat myself on the back, but a lot of the kids still commit there based off what we did when we were there in college," Bush told The Athletic in a 2019 story. "I still talk to a lot of guys there. I still have relationships with a lot of people there."