Reggie Bush said on Tuesday that he will forfeit his Heisman Trophy, according to The Associated Press.
The New Orleans Saints' running back -- and Helix High alumni -- released a statement Tuesday saying he would give back the award that he won in 2005 while he was at Southern California.
It's the first time college football's top award was returned by a recipient.
"While this decision is heartbreaking, I find solace in knowing that the award was made possible by the support and love of so many," Bush said. "Those are gifts that can never be taken away."
The twittersphere was soon abuzz with reactions from fans.
"Not surprised," posted @squeekimus. "He has a Super Bowl ring. It's like forfeiting a Mercedes in your garage when you're driving around in a Ferrari."
"Seems to be not so hard to forfeit the Heisman AFTER winning the Lombardi," tweeted @dcrane2.
Last Tuesday, Yahoo! Sports reported that Bush would be stripped of his Heisman trophy by the end of September.
The Associated Press reported the following day that Bush said the matter was "out of my hands." He said his play on the field spoke for itself and that he "cannot confirm or deny" whether he has met with anyone from the Trust.
The Yahoo! Sports report came as the Heisman Trophy Trust wrapped up its investigation into the former USC tailback's case.
Bush, his mother and stepfather accepted thousands of dollars in cash and free housing while Bush was playing for USC beginning in December 2004, according to an NCAA investigation, the details of which were released in June. Bush and his family were also given an automobile, air travel, hotel lodging, transportation and other benefits, according to the NCAA's 67-page report.
As a result, the program was stripped of all of its wins in which Bush played, beginning in December 2004.
The Trust conducted its own investigation after the NCAA findings were released. From the report by Yahoo! Sports:
Two sources close to the Heisman trust said the body’s investigation is coming to a close, and will ultimately concur with the NCAA’s determination that Bush was ineligible during his Heisman-winning season in 2005. Because of that independent conclusion, sources said the trust will relieve Bush of the award and leave the honor for that season vacant. The sources said Bush met with Heisman representatives last month at the New York law offices of Emmet, Marvin & Martin. The sources would not reveal details of that meeting.
...Two factors outweighed all others, sources said: The Heisman ballot necessitates candidates be in compliance with NCAA bylaws and concern over the Heisman’s reputation in the wake of the NCAA findings against Bush.
Former Texas quarterback Vince Young finished a convincing second in the voting that season.
That same year, the Longhorns and Trojans met in the national championship game, which Texas won 41-38 after Young bolted for the end zone in the game's final seconds and created fits for the USC defense throughout the night.
On ESPN last week, Skip Bayless, who thought Young should have had the Heisman initially, thought a better punishment for Bush would be to publicly shame him by forever leaving that year as blank in the Heisman record book.
In a letter announcing the hiring of Pat Haden as USC's new athletic director earlier this year, incoming university President C.L. Max Nikias wrote that he wanted all tributes to Bush and former basketball player O.J. Mayo -- who also figured prominently in the NCAA investigation -- removed from sports facilities at the campus. Nikias wrote that the university would be returning its copy of the trophy.
"The Trojan family honors and respects the USC sporting careers of those persons whose actions did not compromise their athletic program or the opportunities of future USC student-athletes," Nikias wrote. "Accordingly, I have instructed the senior vice president for administration to remove athletic jerseys and murals displayed in recognition of O.J. Mayo and Reggie Bush by mid-August -- before the incoming class of students moves on campus -- from Heritage Hall, the Galen Center and the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum."