Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush voiced strong concerns over the NCAA’s recent support of a player endorsement plan, saying that paying college athletes who don’t have the proper guidance is “going to destroy some people.”
Bush, whose outstanding career at USC was marred by his eventual forfeiture of the 2005 Heisman Trophy, touched on the subject of paying college athletes during a recent interview with Playboy.
After his comments gained attention online, Bush tweeted Monday that “this is not what I said nor the context I said it.”
The NCAA’s board of governors announced last month that it supports a proposal to allow college athletes to sign endorsement contracts and receive payment for other work, provided that the schools they attend are not involved in any of the payments.
“Guidance is the one thing that young athletes coming through the college system miss on so much,” Bush told Playboy. “I missed on it. They’re about to start paying college athletes. This is something that has never been experienced before, and it’s going to destroy some people if their foundation is not in the right place.”
The NCAA says athletes will be allowed to appear in advertisements and can reference their sport and school, but they would not be able to use school logos or branding in those advertisements.
A formal proposal for the new rules is scheduled to be submitted no later than October to the NCAA board, which will vote on the proposal no later than January 2021.
Bush, 35, was a two-time All-America running back at USC and helped the Trojans win back-to-back national titles in 2003 and 2004. He won the Heisman as a junior in 2005 but decided to forfeit the award in 2010 after the NCAA concluded that Bush and his family had improperly accepted cash and gifts from sports agents while he was playing for USC.
Bush retired from football in 2017 after an 11-year NFL career. He told Playboy that athletes, specifically well-paid athletes, are an “open target” and cited the widespread financial uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic, saying “our market is crashing.”
“The one thing I wish I had early in my career is proper financial knowledge,” Bush said. “I hired good agents, and I hired a good team. But I allowed that good team to make decisions for me. I’m not saying I’m going bankrupt, but if I had the proper knowledge back then, some things would be different.
“People just assume, ‘Well, you got all this money, so you’re good.’ It’s actually the opposite. The more money you have, the more danger you’re in, because now you’re a freaking open target for a lot of people. It’s a nasty world out there, and it’s about to get nastier. You’re going to really start to see the true colors of a lot of people, and a lot of businesses too. You’re going to see people doing some crazy stuff to make money, because our market is crashing.”