A former member of the USC football coaching staff alleged in a lawsuit Monday that undergraduate students were paid to pose as graduate assistants from the team to take online classes on their behalf and fulfill their degree requirements.
Rick Courtright, USC’s defensive quality-control assistant from 2016 to 2018, said in the lawsuit that he overheard graduate assistants Brett Arce and Austin Clark discuss working with defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast to pay two students with low-level positions in the program to take online classes for the graduate assistants.
The lawsuit in Los Angeles County Superior Court said Courtright later witnessed Pendergast, a former Cal and 49ers assistant coach who is named as a defendant in the complaint along with the school, hand an unspecified amount of cash to Clark. The graduate assistant then gave it to one of the students.
“Upon witnessing these events, Courtright believed that the actions of Pendergast and the Graduate Assistants violated state and federal laws and regulations including academic fraud and fraud with the NCAA,” the complaint said.
Courtright reported the allegations to USC’s athletic department compliance office in June 2017, the lawsuit said, and also filed an anonymous complaint with the school.
The lawsuit said Courtright subsequently reported concerns about rule-breaking. The complaints triggered retaliation against Courtright, according to the lawsuit, and led to his ouster from USC.
Football: Mark Rypien, the Super Bowl XXVI MVP, pleaded not guilty in Spokane, Wash., to a charge of domestic violence against his wife. Rypien was taken to the Spokane County Jail on Sunday afternoon after his arrest near a bank on the north side of the city. A witness who saw the couple called police and said Rypien’s wife alleged he had struck her. She was evaluated and did not need medical treatment, police said. Rypien, 56, was released without bail. Prosecutors initially asked for a no-contact order between the former quarterback and his wife at the brief hearing, but she argued against that.
Colleges: Syracuse point guard Tiana Mangakahia announced that she has Stage 2 breast cancer. The senior said she will begin chemotherapy this week and then would undergo surgery after that. “I know this will be tough, but I will get through it,” she said in a statement. “This is just the beginning for me, and I will come out stronger. I have much more to accomplish and I hope to inspire others to overcome their own adversity just like I know I will.” Mangakahia was second in the country with 8.4 assists per game last season.
• Police charged a 16-year-old boy with two counts of manslaughter for the car crash that killed Auburn broadcaster Rod Bramblett and his wife, Paula. Police say test results showed that Johnston Edward Taylor, who was charged as an adult, was driving “well over” the 55 mph speed limit and had marijuana in his system at the time of the crash.
This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/Ex-USC-football-coach-sues-school-alleging-14065587.php.