Former USC and NFL star Reggie Bush is filing suit against the NCAA alleging that the organization defamed him, he announced in a Wednesday news conference.

Bush, alongside his attorneys Levi McCathern and Ben Crump, claims he never took money in exchange for playing football for the Trojans and deserves to get back his Heisman Trophy.

Bush was forced to give up his Heisman in 2010 following an NCAA investigation that found he accepted compensation in violation of NCAA rules, something that is now allowed under the organization’s name, image and likeness rules, commonly shortened to NIL.

The NCAA, however, has publicly stated that it does not intend to lessen or reverse penalties handed out under previous regulations.

reggie bush
In this Nov. 19, 2005, file photo, Southern California tailback Reggie Bush walks off the field holding the game ball after the Trojans defeated Fresno State. (AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian, File)

On Wednesday, Bush and his attorneys made the case that his was not a pay-for-play arrangement, and the NCAA knows their claim is not true and they have no evidence to support it.

“The NCAA rewarded Reggie’s devotion with costly insults, first stripping away his collegiate records and his Heisman Trophy on the basis of a flawed investigation. And then, defaming him with patently false statements that further discredited his good name,” Crump said Wednesday.

USC and college football fans, sports writers and pundits, and current and former USC students have called for the Trojan great to have his accomplishments returned to him.

Billboards supporting Bush were put up around town earlier this year by a USC backer Brian Kennedy, whose name also appears on the school’s practice field.

The billboards read “Hey NCAA, give Reggie Bush back his Heisman!”

It’s something Bush said he thought would happen once the NIL changes were authorized.

“It felt horrible [to not have the trophy returned] … It’s something that still sticks out in my mind,” he said.

On Wednesday, Bush said he wishes to be a greater part of USC’s football program, but he feels he cannot participate without his Heisman and his jersey being displayed in the end zone alongside other USC greats.

“I’ve got dreams of coming back in this stadium and running out of that tunnel with the football team. I’ve got dreams of walking back in here and seeing my jersey, my banner, right down there next to the rest of the Heisman Trophy winners,” he said. “But I can’t rightfully do that without my Heisman Trophy.”