Former USC football coach Steve Sarkisian has agreed to submit his dispute with the university over his October firing to binding arbitration, one of his attorneys said Tuesday.
Lawyer Brian Olney confirmed that Sarkisian, who alleged he should have been given time off to get treatment for alcoholism, will no longer be pursuing a trial of his allegations against USC. Olney said he could not comment on the reasons and referred all further questions on the issue to Sarkisian’s lead attorney, Dan Stormer, who could not be immediately reached.
Before the two sides reached their agreement, USC’s attorneys filed court papers seeking to force arbitration. A hearing on the motion, scheduled for Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, was canceled because of the resolution.
Sarkisian, 41, filed suit on Dec. 7. allegations include breach of contract, discrimination based on disability, failure to accommodate him for his disability and retaliation.
Sarkisian is owed at least $12.6 million under his head coach contract and a marketing agreement, according to his court papers. He held the job from December 2013 until Oct. 12.
USC General Counsel Carol Mauch Amir said previously that the bulk of Sarkisian’s allegations were “patently untrue.”
“While the university does not as a matter of practice comment on personnel matters or litigation, the record will show that Mr. Sarkisian repeatedly denied to university officials that he had a problem with alcohol, never asked for time off to get help and resisted university efforts to provide him with help,” Amir said. “The university made clear in writing that further incidents would result in termination, as it did.”
Sarkisian, who was the coach at the University of Washington before being hired by USC, was fired one day after he was placed on indefinite leave by the university amid rumors of continuing troubles with alcohol.
Sarkisian’s struggles became public during USC’s annual “Salute to Troy” preseason pep rally on Aug. 22, when the seemingly intoxicated coach slurred his words during a speech to the crowd, criticizing several opposing teams and used an expletive before uttering the USC rally call, “Fight On.”
USC Athletic Director Pat Haden immediately rebuked the coach, with various reports saying Haden verbally berated Sarkisian after he was pulled off the stage. Sarkisian publicly apologized the next day, saying without elaboration that his behavior resulted from mixing alcohol and medication.
— City News Service
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