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« Wednesday Caption Contest: Part 89 | WILLisms.com | Trivia Tidbit Of The Day: Part 404 -- Growing Entitlement Program Costs Make Elections Matter Less. »

Reggie Bush: Cheater.

Yahoo! Sports, the only media outlet covering the rampant corruption surrounding Reggie Bush while at USC, is reporting the existence of incriminating tapes:

A federal investigation into extortion claims by New Orleans Saints running back Reggie Bush and his family has revealed the existence of taped conversations that could confirm Bush took cash and gifts while he was playing football for the University of Southern California....

According to multiple sources in an ongoing Yahoo! Sports investigation, nearly $280,000 in cash, rent and gifts was allegedly given to Bush and his family....

If the NCAA rules that Bush received extra benefits during his playing career at USC, he could be ruled retroactively ineligible. Since some of the benefits date to the 2004 season, the Trojans' national championship that season could be rescinded. USC could face further NCAA sanctions and Bush's 2005 Heisman Trophy could be in jeopardy. The Heisman ballot indicates that an athlete must meet NCAA eligibility requirements to be considered for college football's most prestigious award.

So, $280 grand in illegal benefits.

For Reggie Bush and his family, life is imitating art. Broken down, the litany of benefits is reminiscent of the cheating montage scene in the 1994 basketball movie Blue Chips, where Penny Hardaway's mom received a new home, Shaq got a new car, and Matt Nover's parents got a new tractor-- and a bag of cash.

For Reggie, there was a nice new home for his family. A new car for Reggie. Debts paid off. And what would a college cheating scandal be without tons of sweet moolah?

So how does $280K stack up in the historical context of NCAA infractions?

Well, SMU has never recovered from the "death penalty" it received from the NCAA in 1987... for $61K in illegal benefits spread over about a dozen players.

According to the United States Department of Labor's Inflation Calculator, $61K dollars in 1987 equals $108,253.52 today. Just a visual of SMU's cheating versus Reggie Bush's cheating, in today's dollars:


Should USC receive the death penalty, or worse? Probably not.

Will they even face any punishment? Not at all likely.

Because the illegal benefits came from agents (yes, agents, plural) and not the school itself (and because Pete Carroll runs what seems to be a clean program overall), USC will probably be able to skirt any major NCAA penalties.

Speaking of, Yahoo! Sports has the specific language of some potentially-relevant NCAA bylaws, or you can download the bylaws directly from the NCAA's website.

The language is pretty clear (and redundant) on these issues. Taking more than a quarter of a million dollars in illegal benefits from agents while playing college football would seem to violate several NCAA bylaws. There's not a lot of wiggle room for Reggie Bush and his lawyers here, and even if Pete Carroll and USC had nothing to do with the violations, they could still have to walk the plank for Reggie Bush's sins.

Had the Heisman Trophy voters done the right thing in the first place and picked the clearly superior Vince Young, they wouldn't be facing this predicament (taking Reggie's Heisman back) right now.

ESPN, where are you on this one?

Posted by Will Franklin · 24 January 2007 09:53 PM


Dude, Vince Young? =)

Lebron James got the same kind of treatment in high school by agents. It is sad that amateur athletics means getting paid.

Posted by: Justin B at January 24, 2007 10:42 PM

Cheater's proof Will: Bears 39 Saints 14

And Reggie's little unclassy taunt may well have cost them the game.

Posted by: Ken McCracken at January 25, 2007 03:32 AM

College athletes should be paid. The rules should be changed to allowing that. College athletes are virtually slaves, while their colleges rake in millions of dollars as a result of the athletes of competition. Most of these athletes don't make it to the Pro, so there's nothing to show for all the hard work. It makes little sense that talented athletes like RB would have to work for free.

Posted by: Kieth at January 25, 2007 05:07 PM

Nothing to show for all the hard work? How about a free college education -- at least for the ones who didn't major in Phy. Ed.

Posted by: dan at January 25, 2007 05:13 PM

You think that the NCAA executives making millions of dollars while the crumb-bits that young men and women make playing their hearts out is just? The athletes are the ones drawing in the big crowds, not the executives. It's ludicrus that it's the executives making the big bux. There are labor laws in this country, and NCAA is not in compliance in my opinion.

Posted by: Kieth at January 26, 2007 03:47 PM

I am no fan of the NCAA (National Communists Against Athletes), but student athletes get "free" expensive educations, get "free" housing, "free" food, "free" tutoring, "free" clothes, "free" trips all around the country-- all legit-- which ends up being many many tens of thousands of dollars per person per year.

Posted by: Will Franklin at January 26, 2007 04:56 PM

Pay them. Just cut their scholarships and make them pay their tuition with work-study credits.

Don't even compare the value that they get to the millions that the NCAA makes. Let's be realistic--the value of a degree from Northwestern or Stanford is worth a quarter of a million bucks fo an average family sending their kid their out of their own pocket. More if you count that most players redshirt and with five years to spend, many could have advanced degrees when they graduate.

And what job skills do these student athletes offer back in return for their degrees--simply being able to play ball. And there are only 22 starters on a football team, but 90+/- scholarships. Add in all of Title IX and you have to pay the female freshman on the cross country team the same amount as that million dollar future pro football player.

You act like most college athletes on scholarship play for money making programs. After travel costs and considering that there is a female athlete in some marginal sport that loses tons of money for every male football or basketball player on scholarship, most Athletic Departments are already losing vast sums of money. And where does that money come from? The university general budget. And who pays for that? Taxpayers, other students through higher tuition, and that effects everyone.

Explain why taxpayers should pay for athletes to play ball. I would rather if they eliminated college athletics altogether than start using public funds to subsidize entertainment. Why not have a tax to fund playing hit movies for free? Or just make athletic departments completely autonymous and force them to pay for their own scholarships and student loans out of NCAA TV revenue and ticket prices. At $30k per year per student, that adds up real quick.

Posted by: Justin B at January 31, 2007 12:15 AM