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Ex-USC Football Coach Sues School For Firing Him Over Drinking Problem

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Steve Sarkisian (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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Former USC head football coach Steve Sarkisian is now suing the university, claiming that he was fired instead of being offered treatment for alcoholism.

In the suit filed on Monday, Sarkisian says that USC ignored state laws requiring that he be accommodated for his disability, and instead was fired in October for reportedly drinking on the job, according to CBS L.A.. The suit claims that Sarkisian, "pleaded with his boss, Pat Haden, the athletic director, to give him time off to get the help he needed, but instead, "USC kicked him to the curb."

According to the L.A. Times, in addition to discrimination on the basis of disability against Sarkisian on the part of USC, the lawsuit also alleges breach of contract and invasion of privacy. It also claims that Sarkisian has completed treatment for drinking, is now sober and ready to return to coaching.

Sarkasian was fired on Oct. 12 after Haden placed the head coach on an indefinite leave of absence when it was discovered that the coach failed to show up to a team practice. USC players also claimed that Sarkisian had been behaving strangely during a team meeting and during a game against Arizona State. The players said Sarkasian got so drunk he passed out on a flight home from a game against Washington State in 2014, among other incidents, according to the Times. And this past August at USC's "Salute to Troy" fundraising event, Sarkasian was accused of speaking with slurred speech and adding curse words to the school's chant. After the incident, the coach claimed that he did not have a drinking problem, but would seek treatment.

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According to ESPN, USC has not yet received notice of the lawsuit. "USC has not received anything related to a lawsuit regarding Steve Sarkisian," the school said in a statement. "Further, should such a lawsuit be filed, USC does not comment on pending litigation."