Is it time to pay college athletes?
No. 2 NFL Draft pick Reggie Bush is the latest player in trouble: His family allegedly took $100 lived rent-free in a $750,000 home while Bush was a student-athlete at USC.
TEXT OF INTERVIEW
SCOTT JAGOW: The New Orleans Superdome hosts its first NFL game since Hurricane Katrina, Monday night. The Saints play the Atlanta Falcons. The Saints have won their first two games thanks in part to their No. 1 draft pick, running back Reggie Bush. Bush is being treated like a Saint in New Orleans, but a news report last week claims he was a sinner in college. Business of Sports commentator Diana Nyad is with us. Hi Diana.
DIANA NYAD: Scott how are you doing?
JAGOW: Good. So what is Bush accused of doing?
NYAD: Over his years at USC Reggie Bush took, purportedly now, this is not proven yet, took about $100,000 in goods and services — a beautiful home rent-free for his parents to live in, clothing, cash, supposedly his step-father received about $1,000 a month — from two agents who were courting him so that when he did sign for the pros, they would be his agent.
JAGOW: Now if the allegations are proven true, what's likely to happen here?
NYAD: Well they're talking about taking his Heisman Trophy away, they're talking about the 2004 USC national championship season being called a bust and having that title actually stripped from USC. I don't know how you feel about this, but they're going to punish the entire team because of one guy's infractions? I personally don't see that happening.
JAGOW: Well a lot of people are going to say these guys are raking in dough for big-time universities and they're getting a scholarship but they have a hard time making ends meet while they're in college.
NYAD: You know, they do Scott. I literally have interviewed guys who say they don't have enough money to pay their laundry. They can't get their laundry done as often as they'd like to. They can't go on a date. They just do not have a cent to play with. They can't get a part-time job, playing a full-time sport like that, like football. And you know they're appreciative of having a great education at a great university and having that scholarship but it just doesn't leave them any sort of extra cash and they feel bad for their families. SO yeah, it's been going on for years, it's going to keep going on for years until the system changes and it just comes above the table instead of below the table.
JAGOW: Well do you think the system will change?
NYAD: Yeah I really do. You know, it's just ridiculous to have it under the table. And I personally think when all the beans are sort of officially spilled on Reggie Bush and let's say, yeah he took $100,000 for his family, for a nice suit of clothes to wear to the Heisman Trophy, nobody's gonna care. The system will be looked at but not Reggie Bush himself. Especially as he's performing like such a champ down in New Orleans. He's giving somewhere between 5 and 7 percent of his gross income to the city of New Orleans and all kinds of Katrina relief. He's insisting that the companies he gets involved with — Adidas and Pepsi Cola for instance — give a certain amount of the money he's making to Katrina charities. Just that alone, and he doesn't do that because he's in trouble at USC, he does it out of the goodness of his heart.
JAGOW: OK Diana thanks.
NYAD: Thank you very much.
JAGOW: Diana Nyad is our Business of Sports Commentator. In Los Angeles, I'm Scott Jagow. Have a great weekend.