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Report: Bush, family received $100,000 in benefits


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Report: Bush, family received $100,000 in benefits

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ESPN.com news services

Reggie Bush and his family "appear" to have received more than $100,000 in financial benefits from marketing agents while Bush played at USC, according to a report posted Thursday night on Yahoo! Sports.

The Web site reported that the benefits, which could lead the NCAA to retroactively declare Bush ineligible and level sanctions against the Trojans, were supplied by two groups that were attempting to sign Bush as a client. Bush also could be stripped of his Heisman Trophy.

Bush, who now plays for the New Orleans Saints, declined to comment when reached by Yahoo! Sports.

Mike Ornstein, Bush's marketing agent who is alleged to have paid financial benefits, denied wrongdoing, telling Yahoo! that accusations of cash payments are lies.

The report was based on an eight-month investigation by Yahoo! Sports, citing documents and interviews with on-the-record sources close to the situation. It lists several instances in which Bush and his family appear to have received financial benefits, including:

? Suits for Bush's stepfather and brother to wear during the Dec. 10, 2005, Heisman ceremony in New York, a makeover for his mother for the event and limousine transportation -- all paid for by Ornstein.

? Two hotel stays by Bush, one in Las Vegas and another in San Diego, in March 2005. In both instances, the rooms were paid for by Michael Michaels, a marketing agency investor who wanted to represent the football star.

? $13,000 from Michaels' fledgling firm, New Era Sports & Entertainment, to purchase and modify a car for Bush.

? $595.20 in round-trip airfare from San Diego to Oakland in November 2005 for Bush's stepfather, LaMar Griffin, his mother, Denise Griffin and younger brother to attend the USC-California game at Berkeley. The charges were put on a credit card belonging to Jamie Fritz, one of Ornstein's employees.

"Reggie Bush never received an extra benefit from Mike Ornstein other than what he was allowed to get from the NCAA when he worked with us," Ornstein told Yahoo!

Bush was an intern at Ornstein's marketing company in the summer of 2005.

Ornstein told the Web site that he believed the funds given to Bush's family by Fitz were a loan that was repaid. He also told Yahoo! he had "no idea" if such a loan would violate NCAA rules.

NCAA rules state that players and their families may not receive loans or benefits from agents.

Phone messages left by The Associated Press for Bush's attorney, David Cornwell, and Ornstein were not immediately returned late Thursday.

Speculation over whether Bush and his family received money arose earlier this year in reports that his mother and stepfather didn't pay $54,000 in rent during the year they lived in a house owned by Michaels, who later said the family promised to repay him once Bush went pro.

The NCAA and Pacific-10 Conference are investigating whether any rules were broken when Bush's family lived in the home. Cornwell also said earlier this summer that FBI agents interviewed him about "potential federal crimes" by phone in June. The FBI would neither confirm nor deny whether a federal investigation was ongoing.

The NFL players union also is investigating the rent payments.

In a statement released by USC counsel Kelly Bendell, the school said it is cooperating with the probe but "cannot comment on any matter that is the subject of an ongoing NCAA and Pac-10 investigation."

Saints spokesman Greg Bensel told the AP the team would not comment on matters involving Bush when he was in college.

"It doesn't involve the Saints," he said.

The allegations would have no effect on Bush's professional football career, a person within the NFL with knowledge of Bush's standing in the league told the AP. The source asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the situation.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/story?id=2588347

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I can't say I'm surprised. Every big player has benefits like this. It's not like it's just a few "bad guys". I know for a fact other players have had the same thing happen, it's just a matter of who wants to dig hard enough and prove it.

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People have been trying to pin things on Bush for the last year. Everything so far has fallen through.. so I expect the same from this. Even if he would lose his trophy, he is still one of the best college running backs of our era.

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No, it did. All you did was post a dumb comment revealing your little angst against a winner. Just as your signature indicates as well.

Are you seriously trying to say that me, an Ohio State fan is jealous of Notre Dame

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No, it did. All you did was post a dumb comment revealing your little angst against a winner. Just as your signature indicates as well.

Are you seriously trying to say that me, an Ohio State fan is jealous of Notre Dame

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Judging from the fact that you went to such lengths to create a topic on the matter, absolutely.

Why would me making a thread over a month ago about an over rated team, that even at that time wasnt even rated as high as ohio state make me jealous.

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Why would me making a thread over a month ago about an over rated team, that even at that time wasnt even rated as high as ohio state make me jealous.

Of exactly that. You're jealous of the attention they're getting compared to other teams. Cry me a river.

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