Nationally renowned civil rights and personal injury attorney Ben Crump of Ben Crump Law and co-counsel Levi McCathern have filed a defamation lawsuit against The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) on behalf of Reggie Bush, alleging an NCAA spokesperson made false and damaging statements that implied Bush was involved in a “pay-for-play” arrangement. Bush and the legal team will address the media today at 11 a.m. PT in Los Angeles.
After one of the most legendary performances in college football history, Bush was stripped of his University of Southern California record, declared ineligible, and subsequently forfeited his Heisman Trophy due to findings from a flawed investigation by the NCAA.
A district court later criticized the NCAA’s “unprofessional conduct” and ruled that the NCAA’s investigatory report was “false in several material ways. A California appellate court chastised the NCAA for relying on a record “so recklessly constructed” and found the testimony of a witness against Reggie to be “unclear, unreliable, speculative, vague, and so unresponsive” that they would have been stricken from the record if made in court.
Then in 2021, after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the NCAA cannot enforce limits on education-related benefits that colleges and universities offer to students who play Division I sports, the NCAA changed its rules to allow the kind of behavior the NCAA accused Reggie of. Yet, the NCAA did nothing to vacate the sanctions against Reggie.
Instead, in 2021, NCAA spokesperson Megan Durham told ESPN in a statement when asked if they would reconsider sanctions imposed on Bush that, “NCAA rules still do not permit pay-for-play type arrangements.” In fact, The NCAA investigation never found or alleged that Bush was involved in a “pay-for-play” arrangement. The lawsuit alleges this statement was false, defamatory, and made with malice.
“The NCAA clearly defamed Reggie Bush by implying that he was involved in a “pay-for-play” arrangement. Reggie never accepted money or gifts in exchange for him playing football at USC,” said Crump. “The hypocrisy demonstrated by the NCAA toward Reggie is outrageous. Reggie’s groundbreaking collegiate career generated millions for the NCAA and USC meanwhile, Reggie was trying to make do with a $1,000 monthly stipend for all his expenses,
Crump called on the NCAA to publicly apologize and restore his collegiate records so that he could recover his Heisman and assume his rightful, celebrated place in college football history.
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