Reggie Bush was a standout performer at the University Of Southern California (USC). During his time at the program he was one the premier players in college football, as he won a Heisman Trophy, the most prestigious award in the game at that level, and won the 2004 National Championship. While Bush excelled on the field, people associated with the sport took notice. As it became clear that Bush was going to become a hot commodity in the sport world, sport and marketing agencies wanted Bush to sign with them. These agencies needed to offer some sort of incentive to Bush so that he would sign with them. Some key players in this battle for Bush were marketing agent Mike Ornstein and two members of an up and coming sport agency, Michael Michaels and Lloyd Lake. Ornstein provided Bush plane tickets so his family could travel to away games, transportation so his family could commute to games, and suits for Bush and his step father to wear to his Heisman trophy presentation (Robinson & Cole, 2006). Michaels and Lake provided Bush and his family hotel rooms at away games, a car allowance, and money for Bush to pay his rent (Robinson & Cole, 2006). The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) then investigated the situation after Bush left USC for the National Football League (NFL). After a long and strenuous investigation, it was found that Bush and his family had accepted financial help from agents and the NCAA had to make a move. It was decided that Bush would have to give back his Heisman Trophy, and USC would be punished in terms of vacated wins, including a National Championship, and the loss of scholarships (Robinson & Cole, 2006). The NCAA felt it was necessary to lay down such strict punishment because Bush's actions were a clear violation of the rules. .
The Reggie Bush case presents an ethical issue because it explores the field of whether college athletes should be able to accept financial benefits from boosters and agencies to support themselves and their families.