The 2005 Heisman Trophy is going to remain vacant, apparently. Vince Young won’t receive the 2005 Heisman that Reggie Bush is returning, a decision that was made by the Heisman Trophy Trust and announced on Wednesday. According to ESPN, the Trust released a statement that announced:
“As a result of Reggie Bush’s decision to forfeit his title as Heisman winner of 2005, the Trustees have determined that there will be no Heisman Trophy winner for the year 2005.” It’s a questionable move to leave the award open, though, and one that will be debated for years to come.
When the 2005 Heisman Trophy was given out, there were quite a few voters and analysts who didn’t understand how Bush could win it over Vince Young. Young ended up beating Bush in the NCAA Championship Game as Texas took it to USC, and both players went into the NFL Draft soon after. Now that Bush has forfeited the Heisman Trophy among allegations of improper benefits received while at USC, it would have made sense for the Heisman Trust to either re-vote on the award or simply give it to the second-place finisher. Instead they will leave the award open, and not have anyone as their 2005 winner.
Having a Heisman Trophy winner give back his award is already a black mark on college football, and by leaving the award open, it seems that the Trust might be keeping the wound open. If a new winner were to be selected, it would provide closure on the topic, and allow college football to move on with a new person in the 2005 slot. There aren’t many people who would argue against Young deserving to have the honor at this point, and that seems like it would be a much better option than simply leaving the award open in the record books. Keeping the black mark there could also be seen as a statement from the Trust, though.
Something like this has never happened in the history of college football, and no Heisman Trophy winner has ever been stripped of his title. That put the current Heisman Trophy Trust in new territory when trying to make a decision on how to progress, and it’s definitely not an envious position for them to be in. Maybe they will change this decision at some point in the future, but for right now, there will be no Heisman Trophy winner for 2005. Bush will also continue to carry the black mark on his integrity for the rest of his NFL career, even if a lot of it is simply speculation at what he might have done wrong.