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Saturday, May 18, 2024

Reggie Bush to File Defamation Lawsuit Against NCAA

  • The NCAA released a statement in 2021 that “irreparably damaged his reputation,” claims Bush’s lawyers.
  • Bush’s lawyers say the NCAA knew he was never involved in a pay-for-play arrangement at USC.
The NCAA's 2021 statement “irreparably damaged his reputation,” claims Bush’s lawyers.
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Former USC running back Reggie Bush will file a defamation lawsuit against the NCAA over a statement the NCAA made in 2021 that “maliciously [attacked] his character through a completely false and highly offensive statement,” said Bush’s law firm McCathern, PLLC.

The NCAA statement in question was issued to media outlets on July 28, 2021, in response to inquiries about the possibility of Bush having his college records and Heisman Trophy reinstated after new name, image, and likeness rules were put into effect earlier that month. 

“Although college athletes can now receive benefits from their names, images and likenesses through activities like endorsements and appearances, NCAA rules still do not permit pay-for-play type arrangements,” an NCAA spokesperson said in that statement, per ESPN. “The NCAA infractions process exists to promote fairness in college sports. The rules that govern fair play are voted on, agreed to and expected to be upheld by all NCAA member schools.”

Bush had his 2005 Heisman Trophy winning season vacated by the NCAA in 2010 after a four-year investigation that determined he and family members accepted cash, travel expenses, and a San Diego area home while Bush played at USC. Bush’s parents lived in the home rent-free for more than a year and were provided $10,000 to furnish it, the NCAA investigation found. 

“The NCAA’s statement is completely false and highly offensive,” McCathern said in a statement to ESPN. “The NCAA knew Mr. Bush was never even accused of, involved in, much less sanctioned for any ‘pay-for-play arrangement,’ which never occurred,” adding. “The lawsuit is based on the NCAA maliciously attacking his character through a completely false and highly offensive statement that was widely reported in the media and substantially and irreparably damaged his reputation.”

Bush, who retired from the NFL in 2017 and recently left Fox Sports as a college football analyst, will speak at a news conference at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on Wednesday.

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