Ex-USC assistant files lawsuit alleging he was forced from position after reporting possible NCAA violations

A former USC assistant is suing the school after he claims he was forced out for reporting possible NCAA violations. Rick Courtright, a defensive quality control assistant for the Trojans from 2016-18, is seeking at least $2 million in damages in the whistleblower case, which specifically names defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast. 

According to the complaint obtained by the Los Angeles Times, Courtright overheard a conversation in which Pendergast worked with then-graduate assistants Brett Arce and Austin Clark to pay two USC students to take online classes for them. Courtright also claims he witnessed Pendergast handing an unspecified amount of cash to Clark, who then allegedly gave it to one of the students. 

Arce is a defensive quality control analyst with USC while Clark is currently an assistant at Illinois coaching the defensive line. 

Courtright reported the allegations to USC's compliance office in June 2017 and filed an anonymous complaint with the school. Additionally, Courtright reported possible NCAA violations committed by the grad assistants for inappropriate use of a school courtesy car and driving full-time assistant coaches around while recruiting. The complaint then goes on to state that Courtright's actions resulted in retaliation against him, leading to his forced resignation in 2018. 

"At the same time, Courtright also became subject to several harassment incidents in the office including but not limited to someone gluing his mouse to the table, someone logging into his computer and moving it to a different location in the department, someone stealing Courtright's ski cap and jacket from his locker, and someone leaving sticky notes around his desk with snide remarks on them," the lawsuit said.

Courtright also alleges that USC coach Clay Helton told him in January 2018 that he would not be retained and barred Courtright from campus and the football offices. Helton then allegedly gave Courtright a choice in April 2018 of resigning or being fired. 

USC has not yet commented publicly on the lawsuit. 

CBS Sports Writer

Ben Kercheval joined CBS Sports in 2016 and has been covering college football since 2010. Before CBS, Ben worked at Bleacher Report, UPROXX Sports and NBC Sports. As a long-suffering North Texas graduate,... Full Bio

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