USC and the Reggie Bush Infractions: The Cliffs Notes Version

Paul PeszkoSenior Writer IMay 31, 2011

GRAPEVINE, TX - FEBRUARY 03:  NFL Player Reggie Bush of the New Orleans Saints attends the Coke Zero black carpet at the EA SPORTS Madden Bowl XVII at The Glass Cactus on February 3, 2011 in Grapevine, Texas.  (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for Madden Bowl XVII)
Joe Scarnici/Getty Images

Aside from the actual sanctions that the NCAA has placed on USC in the Reggie Bush case, the lingering problem is the misperception that still exists in the media and among college football fans in general.

One of reasons for this misperception is that many sportswriters and media analysts simply do not or will not read anything longer than a blog note.  Some writers read about as many newspapers as Sarah Palin.  So, it would be rather absurd to have expected them to pore over the voluminous material in the NCAA’s allegations against USC and the university’s subsequent appeal.

Since USC and public relations people have been rather negligent in explaining the infractions in simple layman’s terms, many misconceptions pervade even today.

So, for those who are still laboring under those misconceptions, here is the Cliffs Notes version.

  • USC did not pay Reggie Bush to play football.
  • USC did not give Bush’s family a home in exchange for their son playing football for the Trojans.
  • USC did not buy Reggie Bush a car or give him money to purchase a car.
  • No USC booster or patron ever gave Bush or his family any money or other financial benefits.
  • Lloyd Lake, the person who provided a home for the Bush’s and a used car for Reggie Bush, was not a booster or even a fan of USC.
  • Lloyd Lake was an ex-convict who had delusions of becoming a sports agent.  When he left prison, he realized that a friend of his, Reggie Bush’s stepfather, LaMar Griffin, had a stepson, Reggie Bush, who was gaining fame playing college football.
  • Lake provided Griffin a home as well as other benefits in return for his stepson, Reggie Bush, signing with Lake’s fledgling sports agency when he decided to play in the NFL.

Here are the actual NCAA allegations against USC:

  • USC’s Compliance Department failed to check the incomplete registration form for Reggie Bush’s vehicle.
  • USC’s Compliance Department and former head football coach, Pete Carroll, failed to check the living arrangements for Bush’s family in San Diego, some 130 miles from the Los Angeles campus.
  • Former head coach Pete Carroll ran open practices, where the NCAA believed that sports agents and their staffers could have come in contact with the players although no such contacts were ever uncovered.
  • Former Athletic Director Mike Garrett failed to increase an undermanned Compliance Department that had only two employees.
  • The Athletic Department failed to properly investigate the alleged violations or cooperate fully with the NCAA’s investigators.
  • An assistant football coach, Todd McNair, was accused by Lloyd Lake of having known about Lake’s arrangements with the Bush family.
  • Todd McNair denied the accusation but the NCAA preferred to take the word of Lloyd Lake, an ex-convict.
  • The above violations were lumped together with the O.J. Mayo recruitment violation, which USC self-sanctioned, and the case of a woman’s tennis player who used an athletics department long-distance access code to make 123 unauthorized international telephone calls to family members.
  • By lumping all three cases together, the NCAA was able to hit USC with a Lack of Institutional Control (LOIC) violation.

Basically, that is the long and short of it.  So, for those of you who may have been laboring under some misconceptions about what exactly USC did or did not do, I hope this clears that up.


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