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Pac-10 will investigate living arrangement of Bush's family
The USC star could be ruled an ineligible player if improprieties are found.
LOS ANGELES -- Former Southern California star Reggie Bush said there was nothing inappropriate about his family's living arrangement at a home owned by a man who reportedly sought to market him because they leased the house.
"It's kind of funny how this whole story is getting blown out of proportion," Bush said in a live ESPN interview Monday.
The Pac-10 said Sunday that it will investigate whether any NCAA rules were violated when Bush's family, including mother Denise Griffin, stepfather LaMar Griffin and brother Jovan Griffin lived in the Spring Valley, Calif., house while Bush was still playing for USC last season.
Bush declined to say who paid the rent.
The home was owned by Michael Michaels, who reportedly attempted to steer Bush toward signing with San Diego agent David Caravantes, and sought to handle Bush's marketing with a new firm he had founded, Yahoo.com reported Sunday.
NCAA rules prohibit student-athletes and their families from receiving extra benefits from agents or their representatives.
"When this is all said and done, everybody will see at the end of the day that we've done nothing, absolutely nothing wrong," said Bush, the 2005 Heisman Trophy winner.
Bush chose to turn pro after his junior season with USC and is expected to be the No. 1 pick in Saturday's NFL draft. He eventually signed with a different agent and marketing firm; his agent, Joel Segal, and Mike Ornstein, who handles marketing, did not immediately return telephone messages left Monday by The Associated Press.
Yahoo reported that the family moved out last weekend after questions over its ownership arose. Bush suggested that the timing of the move was coincidental.
"That's the funny thing," he said. "We've been looking for a house for two to three months. Now that I'm in the position of buying my parents a house, we've even made a bid on another house, but it ended up being too steep for my pocket."
Pac-10 commissioner Tom Hansen said Monday that a Pac-10 investigation could start soon, but gave no specific time frame. USC could forfeit its 2006 Pac-10 football title if Bush is ruled ineligible, he said.
"I'm not a rules expert, but I think one of the available penalties would be forfeiture of games if you compete while ineligible," Hansen said at the Bowl Championship Series meetings in Phoenix. "I want to caution that that's a long way from where we are now. And I think all of us have seen that so often there are allegations made and when you get to the heart of the matter there' s nothing there."
Any violation could also put Bush in a precarious position with the organization that awards the Heisman Trophy; the award ballot states that the winner must be in compliance with NCAA rules. Heisman officials will wait until the Pac-10 investigation is complete before deciding if any action needs to be taken, said Heisman Trophy Trust spokesman Tim Henning.
The Trojans went 12-1 last season, losing to Texas in the national championship game at the Rose Bowl. USC coach Pete Carroll was on the road recruiting Monday and was unavailable for comment.
The two-story house sits on a corner on a steep hill in an unincorporated area outside San Diego. The back yard is bare dirt and the pavement of the driveway apron is inscribed with the words "The Griffins '05."'
San Diego County records show the 3,002-square-foot home has an assessed value of $339,394, including $99,394 for the land. State records showed construction was completed in early 2005 and Michaels purchased it for more than $757,000 in late March.
In a statement to the AP on Monday, William David Cornwell Sr., attorney for Bush and his mother and stepfather, said the tailback had no connection to the house.
"Reggie Bush was a full-time student at the University of Southern California and never lived in the house," Cornwell said. "As is the case with most 20-year-old college students, Reggie was not aware of personal or financial arrangements relating to his parents or their house. Mr. and Mrs. Griffin now realize that, given Reggie's profile, their personal decisions can reflect on their son."
Bush did not answer a question about his relationship with Michaels.
"There will be a later time for details," he said. "As of right now, it's still early and we don't want to get into all that."