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Reggie Bush files defamation lawsuit against NCAA

Reggie Bush looks on

Jan 30, 2019; Atlanta, GA, USA; Reggie Bush at NFL Network press conference at Georgia World Congress Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Reggie Bush is taking his ongoing battle against the NCAA to the courtroom.

Bush’s attorneys announced this week that they are filing a defamation lawsuit against the NCAA. The law firm, McCathern, PLLC, said in a statement that 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’s 2005 Heisman Trophy win was vacated because he and his family were found to have accepted improper benefits while he was at USC. Bush has sought to have his Heisman Trophy and other records restored now that the NCAA allows student athletes to profit off of their name, image and likeness.

The statement that led to the lawsuit was made by the NCAA on July 28, 2021, in response to Bush seeking to have his records restored.

“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 at the time. “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’s attorneys say that statement was “completely false.”

“The NCAA’s statement is completely false and highly offensive,” McCathern said. “The NCAA knew Mr. Bush was never even accused of, involved in, much less sanctioned for any ‘pay-for-play arrangement,’ which never occurred.”

Bush sent a warning to the NCAA with a series of accusations last year. The Heisman trust is open to giving Bush his trophy back, but the NCAA would have to clear the former NFL running back first. Bush is likely hoping his lawsuit will be another step toward accomplishing that goal.

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