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Reggie Bush Gets Back The Heisman He Never Should Have Lost

Reggie Bush, University of Southern California tailback holds the Heisman Trophy during the 2005 Heisman Trophy presentation at the Hard Rock Cafe in New York City, New York on December 10, 2005.
Michael Cohen/WireImage

The Heisman Trophy is among the last two or three enduring things about college football, so the news that Reggie Bush is getting his returned to him nearly two decades after he actually won it is nothing other than hilarious. And the explanation from the boneyard that is the Downtown Athletic Club makes it damned near perfect.

Bush, who kicked all the available hinder in the 2005 college football season as a tailback for USC and won the Heisman with 784 first place votes from 892 voters, had his electoral victory revoked five years later by the NCAA as a radiant of the USC improper benefits scandal. That's when players taking money for labor provided was a crime against humanity that would destroy the entire college sports industry, even though it has always empowered the entire college sports industry.

But now that the rules have changed to include the phrase "no rules," the Heisman folks saw the problem of defending a concept everyone else has rejected and took the high road. They would have taken the trophy itself if Bush hadn't voluntarily surrendered it, but that's when the NCAA was college football's mall cop. Now that the mall is under new ownership that has told every store to handle its own security, Bush is redeemed for a non-crime he didn't commit. We now bring you the president of the Heisman Trophy trust, Mr. Michael Comerford:

We are thrilled to welcome Reggie Bush back to the Heisman family in recognition of his collegiate accomplishments. We considered the enormous changes in college athletics over the last several years in deciding that now is the right time to reinstate the trophy for Reggie. We are so happy to welcome him back.

"We considered?" No. We no longer need to collect the NCAA's bins. We have new bins now.

And that's fine enough. Comerford wasn't even on the Heisman Trust's board in 2010, and like most lawyers he recognizes the need to be nimble in the face of changing conditions—or in this case, no conditions at all. Other than the presidents of the Southeastern and Big Ten Conferences, Comerford and his fellow trustees have no constituents to be mollified. The only task is to make Bush's reinstatement as a trophy winner and trophy owner seem like a great thing other than righting a 5,000-day wrong.

We'd like to think Comerford has been tasked with feeling a bit of corporate pretend-shame for the Trust's behavior 14 years ago, but that's not how the grift works. The high road is always what your media specialists make it, and the Heisman folks are merely returning Bush to the place he should never have had to leave. Bush will put on the happy face out of graciousness, and USC will act characteristically smug about outlasting the people who sanctioned them when sanctions allegedly mattered, and it will be a triumph for ignoring the reason and methods by which everyone got here to start. A presser for, Hey, we're returning the thing those guys told us to steal from you is bound to be awkward.

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