Reggie Bush Files Defamation Lawsuit Against NCAA

USC running back Reggie Bush

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Reggie Bush and the NCAA have had a fairly tenuous relationship stretching back to his time at USC, and that saga has taken another turn now that the retired running back has filed a defamation lawsuit against the governing body.

As you likely know, Bush was forced to forfeit the Heisman Trophy he won in 2005 following an NCAA investigation that determined he’d received improper benefits from an agent who accused his parents of failing to pay rent in the house he allowed them to stay in after they were evicted from their former residence.

Bush has disputed the NCAA’s account of what actually transpired, but he nonetheless agreed to give up the piece of hardware he received in the wake of a scandal that also forced USC to vacate the national championship it won in 2004 and required the university to officially sever ties with the former Trojan for a full decade.

As a result, it’s pretty easy to understand why Bush would feel motivated to get revenge against an organization he feels has wronged him, and he’ll now have the chance to do exactly that after deciding to take them to court.

According to ESPN, the NCAA has been listed as the defendant in a legal filing stemming from a statement it issued in 2021 in response to questions about whether it would retroactively restore Bush’s Heisman (and USC’s vacated wins) after instituting changes to the longstanding NIL policy (which theoretically eliminated the financial hurdles Bush faced during his time in college).

In that statement, the NCAA stressed “pay-for-play type arrangements” are still forbidden in the NIL Era. However, Bush and his legal team dispute that particular characterization and the assertion that the benefits he received were explicitly transactional, saying:

“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.”

While I’m certainly not a legal expert, based on my knowledge of the situation, it seems like Bush ended up in hot water for his dealings with an agent who was hoping to sign him after he declared from the NFL Draft as opposed to accepting money from anyone affiliated with USC to play for the Trojans.

As a result, it’ll be very interesting to see how this plays out.

Connor O'Toole avatar
Connor Toole is the Deputy Editor at BroBible. He is a New England native who went to Boston College and currently resides in Brooklyn, NY. Frequently described as "freakishly tall," he once used his 6'10" frame to sneak in the NBA Draft and convince people he was a member of the Utah Jazz.