No surprise here. Lloyd Lake filed his lawsuit against Reggie Bush in a San Diego Court yesterday.
Lake's attorney, Brian Watkins, said his client is scheduled to discuss the matter with NCAA investigators Friday. NCAA rules prohibit extra benefits for athletes.
According to the suit, Bush, his stepfather, LaMar Griffin, and mother, Denise Griffin, began asking for money starting in November 2004 when they claimed to have "fallen on hard times financially and required immediate and significant financial assistance to support their respective lifestyles."
That money allegedly included about $13,000 that Bush used to purchase a 1996 Chevrolet Impala registered in his name, Watkins said. The suit also alleges that the defendants "promised repayment of monies lent and advanced" and that on Jan. 14, 2006, Bush "reaffirmed his commitment to repay Plaintiff in a written communication" but never did.
Lake will also be meeting with the NCAA on Friday. Good, lets get it all out there so we can put this mess to bed. Most ration USC fans would agree that Reggie took the money; the bigger issue is SC's culpability in this mess. Hard to say, again to most rational individuals there is a wide gap between knowing and should have known but we are dealing with the NCAA and they are clearly not the most rational group out there. To them there is no difference. This didn't happen in SC's back yard it happened in San Diego where I don't think anyone was looking to dig up this sort of infraction.
At this point, at least to me, I am not worried if USC/Bush loses wins, titles or awards. In my eyes Reggie's family's actions have embarrassed SC enough that the wins, titles and awards are tainted, so to me they are worthless. That is not to say that it won't erase the memories of what I saw because many other players who towed the line shouldn't be lumped into this mess because of the actions of one person.
While I know the answer to this question it needs to be thrown out there. Do the parents of a potential NFL star have the right to enter a business agreement with a party or parties based on the future potential/performance of their child? The easy and obvious answer is no, at least in the eyes of the NCAA. But if the parents do it without the knowledge of the player what is the player to do? More interesting, and this plays on the heart strings of decent people, if the parents enter into this type of arrangement do those of us not a part of it actually believe that Reggie would turn his parents in. We all love our parents and would anything to protect them even if we know what they are doing is wrong. This is not murder, drunk driving or any other hideous crime that we hear about in the news. This is a couple of parents trying to cash in on their sons stardom after years of struggling financially. I don't think its right and I have said in the past that they could have waited but none of us have ever walked a day in those shoes.
The other angle is the extortion angle. Did lake and Michaels attempt to extort the Bush family in any way shape or form? Lake and Michaels have some checkered pasts and their attempt to sign Bush was probably a chance to make themselves look legitimate but when things started going south did they fall back into their own ways? I don't know but their past opens them up to some serious scrutiny.
The one thing that I have trouble with is the potential privacy issue that is attached to this mess. How far should an institution go at monitoring the parents or relatives of their players? I'm not concerned about the privacy of Bush's parents; they lost that right privacy when they broke the rules; which has now jeopardized the welfare of a solid football program.
But the bigger question is should USC have known? That is the issue that will be central to their investigation. Like I said earlier it is a big leap between knowing and should have known but I'm not sure if I would be happy if the school started checking up on the financial behaviors of the parents for the sake of compliance. I am NOT suggesting that the NCAA, should Bush's actions expose wrong doing without SC knowing about it, should force USC to monitor parents behavior but it is also not too far of a stretch. I personally think that that would be impossible and I can think of no school that would endorse it nor have the resources let alone the will to do it.
But it is easy to see how some would demand that sort of solution to attempt to keep players within the rules of compliance. Any attempt to monitor the families of players to ensure enforcement of the rules invades the privacy of those who walk the straight and narrow. As a parent of 2 kids in college is it not enough that my financial records can be looked at to assess that their tuition can be paid? And while my kids are not athletes, if they were I am not trusting enough of those institutions to protect any other information they dig up or continue to have my life looked at for the sake of a players or programs eligibility. The line has to be drawn somewhere.
I deal with privacy issues everyday. A patients privacy is more sacred than anything else I know, as they literally put their life into another's hands and the choices they make on their care or how they seek or pay for that care is deeply personal. When we start delving into the private lives of the families of players I think we start to find things out that are not important to the situation and once some outsider has that information who knows where it can go.
To me the issue is now more about protecting those that follow the rules than it is about protecting titles and awards. Every family has its fair share of checkered pasts. If I get a new Mercedes S Class it is none of the NCAA's business how I paid for it. If I didn't break any of the NCAA's rules in getting that car then it's none of their damn business. But if in their attempt to ascertain if my purchase of the vehicle was legit they find out that I like to bet the ponies, maybe though a bookie, does that now single me out that I could be manipulated if I fall behind in repaying my losses? Does that mean because I may associate myself with shady characters that I am breaking some compliance rules with the NCAA. It may be bad judgment and it may even be against he law but it has nothing to do with the NCAA and their knowledge of it to me would be a severe invasion of my privacy.
Think it's far fetched? You are fooling yourself if you do.
I am not looking to make excuses for Bush or is family, I have made my thoughts known on this going all the back to my old site. But in the NCAA's future attempt to try and combat this type behavior I am just not comfortable having the schools compliance officials or the NCAA sniff around a family's personal life to ensure compliance. In the absence of any evidence that USC knew of these allegations it is entirely possible that NCAA could do just that in order to keep this type of situation ever happening again.
And for those who think it's no big deal wait until it happens to you.