As part of the NCAA’s report on infractions surrounding the USC Trojans that led to a two-year postseason ban, a reduction in scholarships and a forfeiture of wins for the program, former USC now New Orleans Saints running back Reggie Bush was barred from communicating with the program or assisting it financially.
One of the main reasons the Trojans received such heavy sanctions, Bush has been accused of taking $300,000 in improper benefits from sports marketing agent Lloyd Lake, something that the team’s assistant football coach at the time, Todd McNair, allegedly knew but did nothing about.
In the NCAA’s report, one of the most notable contacts between the two parties occurred when Bush was set to host the nation’s top high school recruit following the Oct. 29, 2005, game between USC and Washington State.
McNair, who attempted to contact Bush throughout the night after he abandoned said recruit in his hotel room rather than taking him out, also called Lake’s phone to find out where Bush was and why he skipped out on the meeting.
Though he was not named in NCAA documents, former Florida Gators now Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Percy Harvin has been identified as that very recruit, according to two independent sources who confirmed this to SPORTSbyBROOKS.
In the past 24 hours, a L.A. media source and NCAA source have independently confirmed to me that Percy Harvin was that recruit.
Harvin that year was the top high school football prospect in the country and McNair had been assigned by coach Pete Carroll as his primary recruiter for the Trojans.
Because McNair was charged with recruiting Harvin – and found out through Harvin that Bush was not with him but rather with a sports marketing agent – his knowledge of Bush’s association with Lake is proven, and his lie to the NCAA about not having such information was exposed.
It should be noted that Harvin did nothing wrong in this scenario as presented; he was simply a recruit on a visit waiting to be taken out by the team’s top player. However, it is a very interesting wrinkle considering: (a) how his being neglected ended up aiding the NCAA investigation and (b) he did not join the Trojans and ended up committing to the Gators less than two months later.