( 4UMF NEWS ) LSU Investigating Leonard Fournette’s Family:
LSU is investigating whether the family of star running back Leonard Fournette violated NCAA rules, according to a person familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.
Bob Barton, an attorney representing LSU, has begun interviewing people involved in a website that was built to sell merchandise emblazoned with “BUGA Nation” — Leonard Fournette’s catchphrase — the person told USA TODAY Sports on Tuesday.
Barton, who works for the law firm of Taylor Porter in Baton Rouge and specializes in matters involving NCAA rules, declined to comment.
Paul Price, described by Fournette’s mother as the family’s manager, made payments of about $10,000 to build a website and produce the merchandise to be sold, the owners of three companies involved told USA TODAY Sports. The owners said they gave Price and the Fournettes more than $20,000 in discounts because they expected strong sales driven by the star running back’s popularity.
The website launched the week of LSU’s 2014 season opener, but the business went no further — sales of T-shirts and hats were stopped within 24 hours, according to Fournette’s mother, Lory.
NCAA rules prohibit athletes or their family members from profiting off the athlete’s name, image or likeness. The Fournettes insisted their son’s name or image not be used on the website, and indeed the apparel that appears on a development version of the website only includes the “BUGA Nation” logo and LSU colors.
Michael Bonnette, communications director for the LSU athletic department, had no comment Tuesday.
The NCAA has not responded to requests for comment about a possible investigation into the matter.
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