LOS ANGELES (CN) – USC’s former assistant football coach Todd McNair claims the NCAA defamed him and destroyed his career in an unfair investigation of whether Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush “received improper benefits from a convicted felon, Lloyd Lake … who aspired to be a sports agent.”
McNair sued the NCAA in Superior Court, seeking punitive damages for libel, slander, tortious interference with contract, tortious interference with prospective economic advantage, breach of contract and negligence.
McNair, an NFL veteran, was running backs coach and special teams coordinator for USC for 6 years. The school did not renew his contract after the Reggie Bush investigation, which ended with Bush voluntarily surrendering his Heisman Trophy.
In his Superior Court complaint, McNair says that during the NCAA’s “in-house ‘investigation,’ defendants, and each of them, interviewed selectively chosen witnesses and provided suggestive questions to these witnesses to unfairly, improperly and wrongfully implicate plaintiff. At no time were any of the individuals who were targeted by the internal ‘investigation,’ including the plaintiff herein, permitted to be president during the questioning of any witnesses, question any witness, or cross-examine any witness as part of the ‘investigation.’
“During the course of the internal ‘investigation,’ defendants, and each of them, interviewed convicted felon, Lloyd Lake. During that interview, defendants, and each of them, suggested certain facts to Lake which he then adopted as part of his statement. Yet at no time did Lake, or anyone else, indicate that plaintiff, Todd McNair, was told and/or informed by them that Bush was receiving improper benefits from Lake. At all times, plaintiff Todd McNair categorically and steadfastly denied having any knowledge of alleged improper benefits obtained by Bush and/or his family from Lake. Bush also makes clear that he never discussed with Todd McNair any benefits received by Bush and/or his family. …
“Despite a complete lack of evidence that plaintiff Todd McNair did anything wrong, let alone committed acts amounting to unethical conduct, and despite the NCAA’s own internal regulations mandating that the evidence must be ‘clear and convincing’ of wrongdoing to reach such a finding, defendants, and each of them, in an arbitrary and capricious manner, disregarded their internal regulations, processes and procedures to reach a finding that Todd McNair committed unethical conduct. In doing so, they relied solely upon convicted felon Lake’s incomplete responses to defendants’ misleading and suggestive questioning. Defendants then mischaracterized the testimony of Lake to support an unethical conduct finding against Todd McNair. Defendants then ignored their mischaracterization when it was pointed out to them in their in-house appeal … effectively destroying his [McNair’s] career.”
McNair is represented by Bruce Broillet with Greene Broillet & Wheeler.Defendants are the NCAA and Does 1-50