Reggie Bush to file defamation lawsuit against NCAA for 2021 claim USC star involved in ‘pay-for-play’ scheme

Reggie Bush is going after the NCAA. The former USC star running back and two-time All-American is planning to file a defamation lawsuit against the NCAA on Wednesday stemming from a 2021 statement made by an NCAA spokesperson claiming Bush was involved in a “pay-for-play arrangement,” Bush’s representatives told CBS Sports on Tuesday night.

Bush, who racked up 3,169 yards and 25 touchdowns in three seasons with the Trojans, had his 2005 Heisman Trophy vacated — forfeited on his end in 2010 — and his collegiate records wiped following a high-profile NCAA investigation that determined he and his family members received impermissible benefits — including cash, travel expenses and a San Diego home — while Bush played in college.

A two-time national champion with USC (2003-04), Bush sought to have his Heisman returned and his records restored in 2021 amid newly implemented name, image and likeness laws that allow college athletes to be paid by third parties.

The Heisman Trust said it would welcome Bush back into its family if the NCAA reinstated his records from the 2005 season. Heisman eligibility requirements state that recipients “must be in compliance with the bylaws defining an NCAA student athlete.”

However, the NCAA declined to reconsider Bush’s case, saying it does not reevaluate past penalties. In explaining the association’s decision, an NCAA spokesperson mentioned “pay-for-play arrangements” in a statement to ESPN:

“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. The NCAA infractions process exists to promote fairness in college sports. The rules that govern fair play…


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