Published: Wed, July 11, 2018
Sports | By Johanna Francis

Judge Rules USC Doesn't Owe Steve Sarkisian Anything in $30 Million Lawsuit

Former USC head football coach Steve Sarkisian has lost a $30 million lawsuit that claimed he was improperly fired by the school instead of being allowed to seek treatment for alcoholism.

Sarkisian claimed in the suit that USC didn't help him with his alcoholism, and that he was terminated because of the disability.

"The coach said alcoholism was a disability going by California law, but the arbitrator ruled the laws "[do] not insulate the failure to control a controllable disability nor afford an employee a second chance to control a disability in the future".

Sarkisian was sacked in October 2015, two months after he slurred his words and swore during USC's annual "Salute to Troy" preseason pep rally. USC then made Sarkisian take counseling sessions, though he denied then that he was an alcoholic and that his behavior at the event was due to a bad reaction from prescription pills and beer. USC athletic director Lynn Swann released a statement on Monday, acknowledging the arbitrator's decision, which ruled against Sarkisian on all counts. One player even texted ESPN that Sarkisian "showed up lit to meetings again today".

Since then, Sarkisian has publicly spoken about his struggles with alcoholism and served as an assistant on the University of Alabama's staff before accepting the role with the Falcons.

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In less than two full seasons as the Trojans' head coach, Sarkisian, who was previously an offensive coordinator under Pete Carroll, led the team to a 12-6 record. 'But I am in now a great place, healthy, happy and loving my job with the Falcons and have the support of my family and friends and that's where my focus is and will remain'. Multiple reports also claimed that Sarkisian was drunk during a game against Arizona State.

After he was absent from a practice on October 11, 2015, and acted off at a team meeting, he was placed on a leave of absence by then-USC athletic director Pat Haden.

Sarkisian first got into trouble at USC after he went on a "booze-filled rant" at a Salute To Troy event in August 2015.

The 44-year-old Sarkisian went into alcohol rehabilitation treatment after he was sacked.

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