LSU running back Leonard Fournette is having a fantastic season despite the most recent showing against Alabama, but LSU is now investigating his family to make sure they are not breaking any NCAA rules. The focus of the investigation is the sales of merchandise with Fournette’s catchphrase printed across it.
According to a report from USA Today, LSU has been interviewing people connected to a website selling merchandise with the phrase “BUGA Nation” on it. A so-called family manager, Paul Price, is reported to have made a payment of $10,000 to set up a website and produce the merchandise sold through it. Per the report, the Fournette family allegedly received more than $20,000 in discounts. As you no doubt know by now, the NCAA frowns upon those who cash in on a student-athlete’s likeness or image, so the merchandise sales being driven by the popularity of LSU’s Heisman Trophy favorite is a reason to be concerned at LSU.
Base don the early information reported so far, there is no indication Fournette took any money or received any incentives or benefits directly. Instead, this looks to be more along the lines of the Reggie Bush story at USC. The NCAA has not opened any investigation at this time, or at least none has been reported. Instead, LSU is doing the investigating and will report to the NCAA any potential violations they discover, if any.