Oops! Bush Being Mistakenly Targeted For NCAA Investigation

By Boyce Watkins
Updated: January 29, 2007

NEW YORK — It turns out that the NCAA and I launched simultaneous investigations. It was uncovered by both of us, at the same time, that an individual involved with USC’s football program received a set of cash, gifts and other inappropriate benefits in exchange for his contributions to the team.

When I uncovered this information, I was appalled. Not because the gifts were exchanged, but because this man had done little to actually earn the funds in question.

As I prepared for my big day in court with hundreds of pages of grand jury testimony, tape recordings, sexy photographs and catchy bible verses, it occurred to me that perhaps the NCAA and I were not investigating the same person.

My target was USC head coach Pete Carroll, and their target was Heisman Trophy winner, Reggie Bush.

Taken aback and stunned like an Evangelical preacher during the Janet Jackson Super Bowl, I tried to reconcile my confusion. My logic was quite simple: How in the world can Carroll receive between 2 and 3 million dollars per year, along with numerous other perks, while none of the guys on the field are getting a thing?

Shoot, he can’t even run the 40-yard dash in under six seconds and hasn’t played a down since the Beatles released their last album. Why in hell had they chosen to compensate Carroll, while everyone on the field was getting almost nothing?

On the other hand, I figured that Reggie Bush would be the LAST guy for the NCAA to investigate. He is faster than a crack head on payday, was declared by sports writers to be the best and the most (financially) valuable player in a multi-billion dollar sports league, and earned millions for USC by putting his body on the line with back flips, triple twirls and other super human feats that left the country mesmerized.

It was only logical to me that he should be the first to get paid, not the last. If I make a film and it earns $100 million dollars, shouldn’t the star of the film get something for his efforts?

“You’ve got the wrong man!” I yelled at my TV at the top of my lungs. I knew I was in the right, since I’ve watched USC play. I would be willing to swear in front of any grand jury that it had been Bush who scored those touch downs, not the guy with gray hair. It was Bush, not Carroll, who sprinted down the field, risking life and limb for the sake of USC glory.

Pete Carroll didn’t make a single catch, block or carry, and I could verify this fact. For some reason, no one at the NCAA would listen, as they insisted that Bush’s family had done nothing to earn the financial benefits he received for his performance. They’ve apparently concluded that Reggie had contributed little value to USC’s championship run, and therefore, any benefits Mr. Bush or his family received were illegal.

I will never get the NCAA. In what other field in America is it illegal for someone to be paid for adding so much financial value to an organization? Reggie Bush was practically an iconic brand for the NCAA, not just from TV rights deals, but also merchandizing, as every little kid in America wanted to own a jersey with the number 5 on it.

If I were to open “The Reggie Bush House of Pancakes”, some little geek from the NCAA would have a lawsuit on my porch before I could fry the first piece of bacon shaped like the Heisman Trophy. Given that most men are typically paid for their labor, it seems that Reggie was never a man to the NCAA.

Instead, he was more like a circus horse or a prize monkey, shown to audiences around the world, told to engage in acrobatic tricks and then put back in a cage at the end of the night. All the while, the circus masters spend the night counting gate revenue earned from their carefully staged chicken fights.

Someone should tell the NCAA that they’ve got the wrong man. If Reggie is being investigated for taking money that he allegedly did not earn, then their first investigative target should certainly be Pete Carroll. When I watched USC football, it wasn’t to see the stiff on the sideline.

It was to see the amazing man with the ball in his hands. Pete Carroll was NOT that man. But for some reason, when he picks up his paycheck, no one says a word. When Reggie Bush does the same, we call a grand jury.

Can someone please explain what’s wrong with this picture?