USC cornerback Josh Shaw admitted to USC officials Wednesday that his story about injuring his ankles after jumping off a second-story balcony to save his drowning nephew was a lie.
Shaw, a senior and projected starter who was named a team captain over the weekend, has been suspended indefinitely.
Shaw released a statement through his lawyer, Donald Etra, on Wednesday:
"On Saturday August 23, I injured myself in a fall. I made up a story about this fall that was untrue. I was wrong to not tell the truth. I apologize to USC for this action on my part.
My USC coaches, the USC Athletic Department, and especially Coach Sarkisian have all been supportive of me during my college career, and for that, I am very grateful."
Shaw's story was described on USC's website Monday. Shaw was said to have jumped off the balcony of his cousin’s apartment complex in his hometown of Palmdale, Calif., and landed on concrete, injuring his ankles, before crawling into a pool to save his nephew.
"We are extremely disappointed in Josh," said USC head football coach Steve Sarkisian. "He let us all down. As I have said, nothing in his background led us to doubt him when he told us of his injuries, nor did anything after our initial vetting of his story.
"I appreciate that Josh has now admitted that he lied and has apologized. Although this type of behavior is out of character for Josh, it is unacceptable. Honesty and integrity must be at the center of our program. I believe Josh will learn from this. I hope that he will not be defined by this incident, and that the Trojan Family will accept his apology and support him."
USC coach Steve Sarkisian said Tuesday that the school was investigating the veracity of Shaw's story. The real story behind Shaw's injured ankles is not known publicly.
Shaw's coach at Palmdale High, Jeff Williams, vouched for Shaw's character in an interview with SI.com's Pete Thamel on Tuesday.
“That’s not Josh, that’s not Josh,” Palmdale High's Jeff Williams said. “He’s one of those guys that always does the right thing. His whole career. Even before high school. Talk about something being totally out of character. I would never, never think that.”
USC opens the 2014 season Saturday at home against Fresno State.
- Chris Johnson