Marketer says he spoke with Bush in 2005 about developing Web site

Updated: January 11, 2008, 7:52 PM ET
Associated Press

LOS ANGELES -- A sports marketing agent claims he spoke with Reggie Bush about developing a Web site before the Southern California tailback played his final game for the Trojans and won the Heisman.

Ben Delanoy said he outlined plans in a phone call to Bush in early December of 2005.

"I said: 'Listen, you're one of the biggest names out there. You could be making a lot of money through this thing. We'll get your jersey on sale there and autographed items, pretty much soup to nuts,' " Delanoy told Yahoo! Sports for a report published Thursday.

Delanoy contended that David Caravantes, an agent and officer of New Era Sports and Entertainment, took part in the three-way call.

Caravantes denied the conversation took place and said he had spoken with Bush only once.

"Whatever that guy [Delanoy] is saying is absolutely false," Caravantes told Yahoo! Sports.

Delanoy is now CEO of New Level Sports Marketing. A call by The Associated Press to Delanoy at the New Level offices in Plant City, Fla., wasn't immediately returned Friday.

The report comes on the heels of a new book, "Tarnished Heisman," that the authors claim contain transcripts of conversations that Lake secretly recorded between himself, Bush and Bush's stepfather, Lamar Griffin. In many of the transcripts, Lake and Griffin discuss money and payment.

New Era, now defunct, was founded in November of 2005 and sought to make Bush its major client. Founders Lloyd Lake and Michael Michaels have said they provided Bush and his family with nearly $300,000 in cash and other benefits while he was still playing at USC.

Bush did not sign with New Era, but with established sports marketer Mike Ornstein.

Michaels reached an out-of-court settlement with Bush. Lake is suing Bush to recoup $291,600 in cash and gifts that Bush and his parents allegedly accepted during Bush's sophomore and junior seasons.

Yahoo! Sports also published copies of 2005 documents that link Bush to a two-night stay at the Venetian Hotel and Resort in Las Vegas, where he charged $623.63 Reggie Bush to Michaels' credit card.

The NCAA and Pac-10 are investigating whether the player and his parents took improper benefits. Bush, who could lose his Heisman if the NCAA determines that he violated rules, has denied any wrongdoing.

USC's football program could face penalties if it is determined that it violated rules. There has been no indication that the school committed any violations.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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