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Sunday, June 5, 2011
Updated: June 6, 5:15 PM ET
Ex-USC coach Todd McNair sues NCAA

By Pedro Moura
Special to ESPNLosAngeles.com

LOS ANGELES -- Former USC assistant coach Todd McNair filed suit against the NCAA on Friday, alleging that the collegiate athletics governing body wrongfully caused him to lose his job with the Trojans because of punishment handed down last June in the Reggie Bush case.

The suit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court and obtained by ESPNLosAngeles.com, seeks unspecified damages for libel, slander, breach of contract and four other alleged offenses. It also takes issue with the one-sided examination policy established by the NCAA, which doesn't allow those targeted by investigations to cross-examine witnesses used.

McNair, who spent six seasons as USC's running backs coach beginning in 2004, was hit with a one-year show-cause penalty as part of the NCAA sanctions the school received last year, meaning any school attempting to hire him during the year period would have to seek permission from the NCAA to do so.

He appealed the ruling last August, after his contract expired with USC on June 30 and was not renewed, but was denied by the NCAA's Infraction Appeals Committee in April in a separate case from the school's appeal.

The disputed issues in McNair's appeal centered on the believability of one of the NCAA's key witnesses in the case, Lloyd Lake, the would-be sports marketer who allegedly provided substantial amounts of money to Bush over a two-year period while the star running back played for the Trojans. McNair, the NCAA ruled last June, either knew or should have known about Bush's relationship with Lake and purposely misled investigators.

But McNair said that he did not know about the relationship between Lake and Bush, and that the NCAA itself committed misconduct in the process of its investigation, the basis for Friday's suit.

McNair, 45, also claims in the suit that USC intended to extend his contract past June 2010 but couldn't because of the show-cause penalty handed to him by the NCAA.

The NCAA released a statement Monday afternoon saying officials hadn't yet been served with the lawsuit.

"Nonetheless, we are confident actions by the NCAA enforcement staff and Committees were proper and we'll vigorously defend that position in court," the NCAA said in the statement.

Messages left for McNair's lawyers, Bruce Broillet and Scott Carr, at their Santa Monica offices Sunday were not immediately returned.

Pedro Moura covers USC for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.