The lingering controversy over Reggie Bush and alleged improper benefits has spilled onto the sideline of today's Rose Bowl game between No. 3 Michigan and No. 8 USC.
The former tailback said USC asked that he "not show up on the sidelines," according to a FOXSports.com report.
Bush reportedly said his alma mater was distancing itself from him because of allegations that he and his parents took cash and gifts from a would-be sports marketer while he was in school.
"It's ridiculous," Bush reportedly said. "I guess I won't be going."
A USC spokesman said there was no snub on the school's part.
Under Bowl Championship Series rules, the Rose Bowl strictly limits who may stand on the sideline. Each team is allowed five guest passes for ex-players. The Internet report quoted Bush as saying that he called Friday to request a pass.
"If that's true, the passes were already allocated," USC spokesman Tim Tessalone said. "They were given out a week or two ago."
The team's passes went to Marcus Allen, Ronnie Lott, Charles White, Matt Leinart and John Papadakis.
With USC and Michigan coming off recent losses the Rose Bowl has lost some of its luster, but fans are nonetheless paying healthy prices to attend the game, ticket brokers say.
Premium seats with a face value of $135 were selling for $450 to $750, said Ken Solky, vice president of the National Assn. of Ticket Brokers.
Seats in the end zone or upper rows were going for $150 to $200. On EBay, sellers were asking for about $100 to $1,200 per ticket on Sunday evening.
"It's still a marquee matchup, still two of the top teams in the nation," Solky said.
Tickets to last year's national championship game between USC and Texas attracted about three times this year's prices.
USC receiver Dwayne Jarrett has said he is still deciding whether to make himself available for the NFL draft, a situation the junior might find difficult to put out of his mind during today's game.
Senior flanker Steve Smith was among several juniors considering turning pro last season when the Trojans played Texas for the BCS title.
"It's definitely in your mind," said Smith, who caught three passes for 29 yards in the loss against the Longhorns. "You know that if you have a huge last game you could potentially leave and focus on your goals and dreams."
Smith decided to return for a final season and led the Trojans with 64 receptions and 975 yards receiving.
Said Jarrett: "It's going to be tough, but at the same time, just knowing me out there, I can put it out of my mind. Once I'm out there, I'm out there. I'll be focused on the game."
Leon Hall, Michigan's All-American cornerback, said USC's receiving corps would present a different look than the one the Wolverines faced against Ohio State in their only loss.
"Ohio State didn't have a Jarrett-type of receiver that could go up and get the ball," Hall said.