Bush: We did nothing wrong
Despite Yahoo! Sports' latest report, Reggie Bush maintained that he did not break any NCAA rules while at USC.By Jason Cole, Charles Robinson and Josh Peter September 15, 2006
"I’m not worried about the allegations because I know what the truth is," Bush said Friday in New Orleans. "Like I said from day one, once the smoke clears, everybody will see we did nothing wrong. That’s it."
The NCAA and Pac-10 are investigating allegations that Bush and his family accepted cash and gifts while he was in college.
Meanwhile, New Jersey memorabilia agent Bob DeMartino – who claims intimate knowledge of cash payments from marketing agent Mike Ornstein to Bush’s family – said he plans to cooperate fully with the NCAA.
"I’m not talking to anybody else (other than the NCAA)," said DeMartino, who told Yahoo! Sports that Ornstein borrowed $500 from him, one day before the 2005 Heisman ceremony, so Ornstein could make a weekly $1,500 allowance payment to Bush’s family. "I’m not interested in publicity."
The NCAA released a short statement Friday about the status of its investigation.
"Now that certain individuals have spoken publicly, we hope they will now speak with the NCAA," a spokesperson said.
Bush, the No. 2 pick in last April’s NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints, again shrugged off the suggestion he and his family had financial ties to Ornstein or to New Era Sports & Entertainment, an agency backed financially by Michael Michaels and Lloyd Lake. Bush said there was no reason for concern on the part of USC.
"Obviously (the report) does affect you just because it is out there," Bush said. "But at the same time, I know there’s nothing to worry about. It makes you want to go out there right away and tell your side of the story. Show everybody the facts, the truth. But you can’t do that. That wouldn’t be the right way to do it."
Bush has declined to comment to Yahoo! Sports.
Also Friday, USC officials stood by their previous statement, refusing to comment while in the midst of an NCAA investigation. A Yahoo! Sports reporter was turned away at the team’s practice field, where the Trojans had only a walkthrough workout in preparation for their game Saturday against Nebraska. There is typically no media availability with the Trojans on Fridays, and the reporter was told coaches and players wouldn’t comment on the report.
Whether the Trojans will face sanctions from the Bowl Championship Series, which governs the national championship game, remains unclear. At stake could be USC’s 2004 national title and the money earned from championship game appearances in 2004 and 2005. BCS administrator Bill Hancock said the organization plans to await the results from concurrent investigations by the Pac-10 and NCAA.
"Specific actions have not been discussed," Hancock said. "There’s no way to speculate."
As for the NFL, league spokesman Greg Aiello said there wasn’t a great deal of concern on the league’s part regarding Ornstein’s alleged actions.
According to the Yahoo! Sports report, an employee of Ornstein charged flights and limousine trips for the Bush family on his credit card in November of 2005. Unlike agents registered with the NFL Players Association, the league doesn’t supervise the actions of marketing agents.
"Whatever actions he took, or did not take in this matter, he did on his own," Aiello said of Ornstein.