Reggie Bush Files Suit Against NCAA, Seeks Return of His Heisman Trophy

Former collegiate sensation, NFL All-Pro player, and now a sports analyst and philanthropist, Reggie Bush, has filed a lawsuit against the NCAA through his legal representatives, McCathern, PLLC and Ben Crump Law. The lawsuit, registered in Marion County, Indiana, revolves around allegations that the NCAA has maligned Bush’s character through false and offensive statements, which were reported in the media and caused irreparable damage to his reputation.

      The crux of the lawsuit dates back to July 28, 2021, when the NCAA, via its authorized spokesperson, erroneously informed reporters about Bush’s involvement in a “pay–for–play arrangement”. This statement led to a negative fallout, with the NCAA refusing to consider restoring Bush’s collegiate records, which they stripped in 2010, resulting in Bush returning his Heisman Trophy, making him the first player to ever do so.

      The NCAA’s claims were widely circulated, with no less than 20 different media outlets publishing the statement within 24 hours, reaching readers globally. However, Bush’s lawsuit declares that the NCAA’s statement was not just offensive, but entirely false.

      Bush was never implicated, let alone officially accused or sanctioned for any “pay-for-play” scheme, which Bush asserts never happened. While it is true that the NCAA conducted an investigation in 2010 that concluded Bush received indirect benefits from a non-existent sports marketing agency during his tenure at USC, Bush’s suit alleges that the NCAA and its spokesperson were fully aware of the investigation’s serious flaws, and its reliance on ineffective findings was reckless.

      The flaws in the investigation were revealed through a years-long legal battle between the NCAA and Todd McNair, Bush’s assistant coach at USC, who took legal action against the NCAA for defamation and slander. Two California courts found that the NCAA investigators conducted an “unprofessional” and “sloppy” interview with the key witness, Lloyd Lake, leading to unreliable and unclear answers. The courts further stated that the NCAA report misrepresented Lake’s statements and contained multiple false claims.

      The NCAA and McNair reached a confidential settlement in July 2021. Following these revelations, Bush sought to appeal the NCAA’s penalties in 2022, but his appeal was dismissed due to a lack of standing as he was not considered an involved individual. The NCAA’s stance was that only USC could appeal the penalties.

      Recently, however, USC and Bush have re-submitted their appeal to the NCAA, hoping to overturn the flawed investigation and reinstate Bush’s eligibility and accomplishments earned during his time at USC.

      “It’s past time for Reggie Bush’s rightful place in college football history to be restored! Call on the NCAA to reinstate Reggie’s collegiate records and legacy — stand up for justice and fairness, and honor true sportsmanship!” his attorney, civil rights leader Ben Crump, wrote on X on Thursday.

      “The NCAA must change its plantation mentality, treating collegiate student athletes like indentured servants,” he added.

      Crump is also asking that people sign a petition demanding a public apology and the lifting of sanctions to pave the way for the return of Reggie’s Heisman Trophy.

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