Steve Sarkisian has filed a $30 million lawsuit against the university for wrongful termination and failure to help him seek efforts to treat his alcohol-related disability.
Steve Sarkisian’s attorneys also alleged wrongful termination and invasion of privacy in the complaint filed in Los Angeles County Court. Sarkisian contends he is owed at least $12.6 million left on his USC contract, along with other damages for “extreme mental anguish.”
“Instead of honoring the contract it made with Steve Sarkisian, USC kicked him to the curb,” the lawsuit reads.
USC spokesman Carl Marziali said the school won’t comment on pending litigation.
In the 31-page lawsuit, Sarkisian gives his first detailed public descriptions of the events surrounding his firing Oct. 12, five games into his second season in one of the highest-profile jobs in college football.
The coach says he was fired by e-mail, one day after athletic director Pat Haden put Sarkisian on a leave of absence when Haden said Sarkisian came to the school in no condition to work.
Steve Sarkisian claims he should have been allowed to seek treatment for his alcoholism disability while keeping his job. The lawsuit describes Sarkisian’s descent into alcohol dependency in detail, citing the extraordinary stress of the USC job combined with his wife’s decision to file for divorce this year.
Steve Sarkisian also says he has completed inpatient treatment and a detoxification program during more than 30 days in rehabilitation. He has stopped taking medications prescribed by a USC doctor, and is sleeping well “for the first time in over 20 years.”
“Steve Sarkisian was ready to return to work, both physically and emotionally and in time to coach USC’s two remaining games of the regular season and any games beyond that,” the lawsuit reads.
“Unfortunately, there was no job waiting for him. Steve Sarkisian took responsibility for getting help for his disability. USC refuses to honor its responsibilities.”
Steve Sarkisian was an assistant coach at USC under head coach Pete Carroll during the 2000s, and he returned to the school as head coach in December 2013 after five years at Washington.
Burlsworth Award: Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Burlsworth Award, given annually to the top player who began his career as a walk-on.
Mayfield has helped lead Oklahoma to the College Football Playoff this season. The Sooners will face Clemson in a semifinal at the Orange Bowl on Dec. 31. The junior is second in the country in passing efficiency and has thrown for 35 touchdowns and five interceptions this season.
The other finalists were Penn State defensive lineman Carl Nassib and Washington State quarterback Luke Falk.
Sportact Editors and Wire Services