Tarnished Heisman: Did Reggie Bush Turn His Final College Season into a Six-Figure Job?

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Tarnished Heisman: Did Reggie Bush Turn His Final College Season into a Six-Figure Job?

by Don Yaeger

Gallery Books | December 16, 2008 | Trade Paperback

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"In order that there will be no misunderstanding
regarding the eligibility of a candidate,
the recipient of the award must be a bona fide
student of an accredited university.
The recipient must be in compliance with the
bylaws defining an NCAA student."


-- From the ballot for the Heisman Trophy

December 10, 2005: Amid a roaring ovation and media crush, with his family standing proudly by his side, Reginald Alfred Bush is named the year's Heisman Trophy winner. With his honest demeanor, effervescent smile and, of course, stunning talent displayed on the fields of the University of Southern California, Reggie Bush is, on that celebratory night, the portrait of a great American sportsman, and the pinnacle of everything the NCAA espouses in its athletes.

What America didn't know about the acclaimed college star was that, in direct violation of NCAA policies, Bush and his family had allegedly taken hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and gifts long before he ever laid his hands on the Heisman.

The rumors first surfaced one week before the 2006 NFL draft: allegations of improper benefits that transformed Bush's final year at USC into a financial windfall. The resulting scandal from such charges could mark one of the darkest chapters in college football history. Now, drawn together for the first time in Tarnished Heisman, the facts are laid bare.

Don Yaeger, a former Sports Illustrated investigative reporter who documented the Duke University lacrosse case in the shattering New York Times bestseller It's Not About the Truth, reveals the heated controversy behind Bush's high-flying rise before turning pro for the New Orleans Saints, going back to his first taste of fame, when Bush landed in the pages of Sports Illustrated and all eyes were watching to see what was next for the USC sophomore. What few eyes saw, however, were the ties between Bush and two San Diego men, cofounders of a fledgling sports agency, who claim to have paid Bush and his family in cash and gifts to ensure his endorsement -- benefits including a vintage car, lavish trips, and an upscale home where Bush's family lived rent-free. Don Yaeger exposes the NCAA-prohibited activity in which Bush allegedly engaged, and also shows how USC and its coaching staff appeared to have turned a blind eye to the increasingly luxurious lifestyle of their star athlete and his family.

With the explosive information revealed in Tarnished Heisman, Bush stands to be ruled ineligible -- a decision that could cost his alma mater the 2004 national championship title, force the forfeit of every game Bush played in after losing his eligibility, and potentially strip Reggie Bush of the shining prize of his college career: the Heisman Trophy.

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 256 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.7 in

Published: December 16, 2008

Publisher: Gallery Books

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 1416578196

ISBN - 13: 9781416578192

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Tarnished Heisman: Did Reggie Bush Turn His Final College Season into a Six-Figure Job?

Tarnished Heisman: Did Reggie Bush Turn His Final College Season into a Six-Figure Job?

by Don Yaeger

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 256 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.7 in

Published: December 16, 2008

Publisher: Gallery Books

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 1416578196

ISBN - 13: 9781416578192

Read from the Book

ONE Thanking All the Wrong People Reggie Bush stepped to the podium, flashing one of the most electric smiles in all of college sports. Past Heisman Trophy winners served as a historic and humble backdrop. An adoring audience stood and cheered as an elated yet poised Bush beamed with pride. Bush, a junior running back from the University of Southern California, did what had never been done in the history of college football: He won the Heisman Trophy by beating out a teammate who had won the prestigious award the year before and was in the front row with him. It told the world that Bush was a young man whose future knew no limits. The Nokia Theatre Times Square, a 2,100-person venue that had officially opened three months earlier, was wired as ESPN televised the 2005 Heisman Trophy presentation live to the country from New York City. An elegantly dressed, energized crowd had waited in anticipation for this exact moment during the sixty-minute broadcast. Sitting next to each other in the second row near the center aisle were Bush's parents, Denise and LaMar Griffin; Bush's younger half-brother, Javon, was also in the audience. The group was dressed to the nines: Denise in a spectacular long silk brocade jacket with a mandarin collar, offset by gold chandelier earrings that brushed her shoulders; LaMar and the fourteen-year-old Javon in stylish, striped suits with color-coordinated pocket silks. The Heisman Trophy -- a bronze statue that depicts a football playe
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Table of Contents

Contents

 Author's Note  1 Thanking All the Wrong People 2 Reggie 3 USC Dynasty 4 Lloyd Lake 5 The Indians: Michael Michaels 6 The Seeds of Relationship and Scandal: How Bush, Lake, and Michaels Got Together 7 Reggie Breaks Out: The Heisman Year 8 A New Era: Business Plan Takes Flight 9 A Second Lover: Michael Ornstein 10 Mom and Dad Make Their Way to the Trough 11 The Unraveling 12 The Suge Factor 13 Leaving for the NFL 14 Why Not Return the Money? 15 The Denials 16 The NCAA: On Reggie's Trail and What It Could Mean 17 The Fallout Cast of Characters Timeline of Events A New Era of Spending  

From the Publisher


"In order that there will be no misunderstanding
regarding the eligibility of a candidate,
the recipient of the award must be a bona fide
student of an accredited university.
The recipient must be in compliance with the
bylaws defining an NCAA student."


-- From the ballot for the Heisman Trophy

December 10, 2005: Amid a roaring ovation and media crush, with his family standing proudly by his side, Reginald Alfred Bush is named the year's Heisman Trophy winner. With his honest demeanor, effervescent smile and, of course, stunning talent displayed on the fields of the University of Southern California, Reggie Bush is, on that celebratory night, the portrait of a great American sportsman, and the pinnacle of everything the NCAA espouses in its athletes.

What America didn't know about the acclaimed college star was that, in direct violation of NCAA policies, Bush and his family had allegedly taken hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and gifts long before he ever laid his hands on the Heisman.

The rumors first surfaced one week before the 2006 NFL draft: allegations of improper benefits that transformed Bush's final year at USC into a financial windfall. The resulting scandal from such charges could mark one of the darkest chapters in college football history. Now, drawn together for the first time in Tarnished Heisman, the facts are laid bare.

Don Yaeger, a former Sports Illustrated investigative reporter who documented the Duke University lacrosse case in the shattering New York Times bestseller It's Not About the Truth, reveals the heated controversy behind Bush's high-flying rise before turning pro for the New Orleans Saints, going back to his first taste of fame, when Bush landed in the pages of Sports Illustrated and all eyes were watching to see what was next for the USC sophomore. What few eyes saw, however, were the ties between Bush and two San Diego men, cofounders of a fledgling sports agency, who claim to have paid Bush and his family in cash and gifts to ensure his endorsement -- benefits including a vintage car, lavish trips, and an upscale home where Bush's family lived rent-free. Don Yaeger exposes the NCAA-prohibited activity in which Bush allegedly engaged, and also shows how USC and its coaching staff appeared to have turned a blind eye to the increasingly luxurious lifestyle of their star athlete and his family.

With the explosive information revealed in Tarnished Heisman, Bush stands to be ruled ineligible -- a decision that could cost his alma mater the 2004 national championship title, force the forfeit of every game Bush played in after losing his eligibility, and potentially strip Reggie Bush of the shining prize of his college career: the Heisman Trophy.

About the Author

Don Yaeger is the coauthor of The New York Times bestselling Under the Tarnished Dome and the critically acclaimed Pros and Cons: The Criminals Who Play in the NFL. He lives in Tallahassee, Florida, with his wife, son, and daughter.