Coach Fired in Transcript Scandal Heads to Court

     BRONX, N.Y. (CN) – A men’s basketball coach sidelined in a transcript-forgery scandal that led to the booting of several Division I players has fired back in court.
     The summons with notice filed in Bronx County Supreme Court today is the latest controversy to surface from transcript issues at Westchester Community College that local paper the Journal News brought to light last year.
     With the Journal News reporting that the transcripts of former WCC students had been altered to make them eligible for participation in the National Collegiate Athletic Association, at least three former WCC players lost their scholarships.
     Florida A&M University reportedly gave Jamell Walker and Damien Davis the boot, while Keith Thomas was expelled from St. John’s.
     The revelations prompted an internal investigation by WCC into dozens of student-athletes over the past three to five years. Meanwhile the NCAA and the New York Inspector General’s Office opened their own investigations, as did other schools that accept WCC transfers like Concordia College and SUNY Purchase.
     WCC wound up canceling its men’s basketball season and canned the team’s assistant coach, Richard Fields.
     Last year, the Journal News quoted a WCC spokesman as saying Fields admitted to sending phony transcripts, but Fields has reportedly denied wrongdoing.
     The Journal News said Fields filed a notice of claim this past January against it, as well as WCC, the county and coach Tyrone Mushatt.
     Fields followed up today in a summons with notice.
     Each of the aforementioned individuals and entities are listed among 16 defendants to the filing, which also includes Gannett and various reporters.
     Among 18 causes of action, Fields alleges defamation, fraud, improper termination of employment, emotional distress, humiliation, and wanton disregard for the truth or falsity of information disseminated.
     “The relief sough[t] is a sum of money having a present value which exceeds the jurisdictional limits of all other courts which would otherwise have jurisdiction in this matter,” the notice continues.
     Fields is represented by Carolyn Minter in Ossining, N.Y.
     Westchester Community College and the Journal News have not returned requests for comment.

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