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Former USC star Reggie Bush files defamation lawsuit against NCAA: "It's about truth"

Reggie Bush, an NFL commentator and College Football Hall of Famer, has initiated a defamation lawsuit against the NCAA, alleging the organization falsely suggested in a statement two years ago that he received payment for playing football at the University of Southern California. 

In 2010, the NCAA accused Bush of accepting improper payments from an external source while he was a college athlete. He was stripped of his collegiate titles and voluntarily returned his 2005 Heisman Trophy. 

The lawsuit claims the NCAA's handling of the investigation into the allegations was flawed. 

Bush unveiled the lawsuit at the Los Angeles Coliseum, the same venue where he made a name for himself as a running back for the USC Trojans. 

"It's about truth, getting the facts out, and holding the NCAA accountable," Bush said. 

Bush's college career included two national championship titles. His outstanding performances led him to win the Heisman Trophy in 2005. However, his titles were retroactively revoked and his Heisman Trophy was surrendered in 2010 after an NCAA investigation found that he had accepted gifts and cash from a potential sports agent. 

In 2021, the NCAA introduced policy changes allowing student-athletes to profit from their name, image and likeness. Bush had hoped for a reconsideration of his case under these new guidelines. Nevertheless, the NCAA declined, reiterating that "NCAA rules still do not permit pay-for-play type arrangements" in response to queries from ESPN about his status. 

Bush denies any basis for the claim that he engaged in a pay-for-play arrangement where he received compensation for his participation at USC. He said not only is not true but there's no evidence to support it.  

Bush is represented by attorneys Levi McCathern and Ben Crump, who called the case "a slap in the face." 

CBS News reached out to the NCAA, which had no additional comment. 

The University of Southern California released a statement supporting Bush's bid to regain his Heisman Trophy and said, "While we are not a party to Mr. Bush's lawsuit, we fully support his efforts to regain his Heisman Trophy." 

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