Former USC Star's Flag Football League Lied To Save Up To $110,000 In Rent


A flag football league named after a former USC star lied about being a nonprofit and now owes over $85,000 in back rent. Or, over a quarter of what Reggie Bush allegedly received in gifts while playing for the Trojans.

The Matt Leinart Flag Football League, a for-profit company whose namesake won the Heisman Trophy as the school's star quarterback in 2004, is said to have improperly used Leinart's non-profit Matt Leinart Foundation to secure access and reduced fees to football fields throughout Orange County. Earlier this week, the league agreed to pay back Irvine a total of $63,640 it owed for renting football fields in city parks over a four-year period. "That amount is the difference between the profit rate and the non-profit rate for fields," Craig Reem, Irvine director of public affairs and communications, explained in a statement to the Orange County Register.

Last month the Register also learned that the league saved up to $50,000 over a four-year period in Costa Mesa as well. The league has agreed cut a check of $25,000 to Costa Mesa.

One official resigned as a result of the city granting the league favored status. "I was instructed by [Costa Mesa CEO Thomas R. Hatch] to make it happen for them, get them the fields," said former Parks and Recreation director Robert Knapp. "So I decided to move on."

"What we found is that most cities require a 501(c)(3) [non-profit status] in order to rent their fields," said Ryan Leinart (brother of Matt) said in an email to the Register. "We talked with our legal counsel and were advised that it was OK to proceed with the foundation lending its non-profit status to the Matt Leinart Flag Football League."

Ryan Leinart serves as executive director of both the league and the foundation.

He goes on the say that since the non-profit Matt Leinart Foundation's goal was to involve youths in sports, it would be suitable to use for the league. However, he acknowledged the league and the foundation are separate entities. As part of its goal in involving as many children in playing sports, the league costs $170 per player and also runs academies for quarterbacks and wide receivers.

Matt Leinart played in the NFL for seven years and is now a TV analyst. He has not commented on this story.