Inquiry Set in Bush Family Residence

Times Staff Writer

The Pacific 10 Conference is investigating the living arrangements of Reggie Bush’s family last season to see whether there were violations of NCAA rules, conference officials confirmed Sunday.

Tom Hansen, commissioner of the Pac-10, said USC asked the conference to look into the matter late last week after a reporter for Yahoo Sports questioned athletic department officials for a story that was published on the website Sunday.

The story said Bush’s family abruptly moved out of a spacious, year-old home in Spring Valley, Calif., late last week after a reporter questioned Bush’s mother about the property. According to the report, the house was originally purchased by Michael Michaels, a man who allegedly tried to steer Bush toward an agent and who also allegedly has ties to a sports marketing company.


The report said Michaels and an associate contacted David Caravantes, a San Diego-based agent, and offered to help recruit Bush.

In January, shortly after USC lost to Texas in the Rose Bowl, Bush -- the Heisman Trophy-winning running back -- announced he would skip his final year of eligibility to turn pro and that he had hired Joel Segal as his agent. Mike Ornstein, who is a Reebok advisor and also a former NFL team executive, was retained to head up Bush’s marketing team.

Bush, who is regarded as potentially the top pick in Saturday’s NFL draft and is expected later this week to announce that he has signed a major shoe deal, could not be reached for comment Sunday. His mother, Denise Griffin, and stepfather, LaMar Griffin, also could not be reached.

“I don’t know where that story is coming from,” Ornstein said. “I talked to Reggie and he has no idea where that’s coming from, what his parents are paying for a house or anything.”

Michaels could not be contacted and Caravantes did not return a message.

NCAA rules prohibit student-athletes and their families from receiving “extra benefits.”

Hansen said USC’s request to have the Pac-10 investigate was “not unique at all.”

Hansen declined to speculate about the Bush matter but said that if a student-athlete’s family could prove it was “paying fair-market rent for places to stay,” it would not matter who owned the property.

Asked whether USC may have to forfeit games that Bush played in if it were determined that rules were broken, Hansen said, “It’s conceivable you go all the way up to forfeiture of games, but you would have to have very, very solid evidence that there had been a major violation.”


Ron Barker, associate commissioner for enforcement for the Pac-10, said he expected that the NCAA would become involved, but added that the matter could be “tricky” because Bush has no eligibility left.

Barker also said that much would hinge on what, if any, cooperation Bush’s family might provide. Barker said he had attempted to reach the family but had not heard back as of Sunday night.

Times staff writer Sam Farmer contributed to this report.