Reggie Bush Would've Made at Least $4-6M at USC Under New Rules, Says Analyst

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistMay 10, 2020

Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush announces at a news conference at the University of Southern California Thursday, Jan. 12, 2006, that he will forego his senior year at USC to enter the National Football League draft. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)
REED SAXON/Associated Press

If the NCAA's proposed rule change that will allow student-athletes to make money off their image and likeness existed when Reggie Bush played college football, one analyst projected the former USC star would have been able to earn millions of dollars. 

Per The Athletic's Bruce Feldman, Navigate CEO A.J. Maestas estimates that Bush could have made between $4-6 million as a college student in today's dollars from marketing opportunities:

"With the caveat that there is still much to be sorted out on the NIL front, Maestas says that figure would be based largely on anchor deals Bush could command from apparel, beverage, supplement companies or local businesses like furniture stores. In addition, even though USC is a Nike school, Maestas says, if it's truly an open market for athletes, Bush could have pitted Adidas vs. Nike for his own deal."

Navigate is a sports and entertainment business strategy firm that helps clients "determine the value of their partnerships and understand how they are performing."

Maestas noted companies would have "worked like crazy" to sign Bush because the value of getting him to, say, help market shoes for his college career and heading into the NFL. 

The NCAA board of governors announced in April its support for a rule permitting student-athletes to receive third-party endorsements related to and separate from athletics. The recommendation will move to the rules-making structure in the three divisions of the NCAA, with the expectation it will be approved in time for the 2021-22 academic year. 

USC was forced to vacate the final 14 wins—the last two from 2004 and the entire 2005 season—and Bush had to forfeit his 2005 Heisman Trophy stemming from an NCAA investigation that determined Bush and his family received cash and other gifts from a sports agency. 

Bush went on to be the No. 2 pick in the 2006 NFL draft by the New Orleans Saints. He played 11 seasons in the NFL with five different teams before officially retiring in December 2017.