It's fall, which means it's time for the annual "star player gets embroiled in absurd NCAA scandal" story. In 2011, it was Cam Newton. In 2013, Johnny Manziel. Last year, both Todd Gurley and Jameis Winston were caught up in dumb autograph things.
This year, LSU running back Leonard Fournette apparently could be in trouble because of something he appears to have had nothing to do with, per USA Today. You know Fournette, the Heisman frontrunner who offered to auction his jersey from the South Carolina game to victims of flood relief (LSU's going to do it, by the way).
According to the story, a manager representing the Fournette family set up an online merchandising business for "BUGA Nation," a phrase Fournette has been associated with since his days as a star recruit. It's trademarked by Lory Fournette, Leonard's mother, but she told USA Today the NCAA viewed it as Leonard's brand. In previous years, the families of players like Johnny Manziel, Kenny Hill and Daylon Mack have all trademarked phrases, preventing unauthorized parties from selling merchandising with "Johnny Football," "Kenny Trill," and #WRTS, respectively.
After going live the weekend of LSU's 2014 season opener, the business was reportedly shut down within a day without a single order filled. Leonard's mother, Lory, told USA Today the site went down after the NCAA found out, but the NCAA (and the SEC) told USA Today it had no contact with the Fournettes.
The family manager, Paul Price, reportedly received discounts on associated costs from other businesses, because the owners "expected strong sales driven by the star running back's popularity," per USA Today. After the site was shut down and any potential long-term profits gone with it, the story's now in the news.
If that sounds familiar, well, Gurley was suspended after an autograph dealer turned him in because the running back's autographs were "losing a ton of value."
The NCAA's not investigating as far as we know, there's no evidence hinting at his involvement in any wrongdoing and none of the products were actually sold. But here we are, once again.