Arbitrator Rules in Favor of USC in Steve Sarkisian's $30 Million Wrongful Termination Lawsuit

Steve Sarkisian was suing USC for $30 million for wrongful termination.
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An arbitrator ruled USC is not responsible for any more compensation to former coach Steve Sarkisian and denied his wrongful termination lawsuit.

Sarkisian was fired by the Trojans in October 2015 in relation to a potential alcohol problem the coach was battling. There were several instances of the coach allegedly being drunk in public or while working with the team, including a time he appeared to be intoxicated during a booster event and another time during a 42-14 win over Arizona State in which his staff suspected he was under the influence, ESPN reported.

When Sarkisian filed the lawsuit two months after he was fired, he claimed then-athletic director Pat Haden fired him instead of giving him a chance to seek treatment for his alcoholism, which is recognized as a disability by the law, he was seeking the remaining $12.6 million left on his contract in addition to unspecified damages, according to Nathan Fenno of The Los Angeles Times.

"I am disappointed in the decision, but we will respect it and move on," Sarkisian said in a statement. "Much gratitude to everyone who has shown their support and stood by me. The last two years have been trying, but I am in now a great place, healthy, happy and loving my job with the Falcons and have the support of my family and friends and that’s where my focus is and will remain."


"We are pleased that the arbitration has reached its rightful conclusion and we wish Steve Sarkisian well," USC athletic director Lynn Swann said in a statement.

Since leaving USC, Sarkisian worked as an analyst and was the offensive coordinator for Alabama, and he is now entering his second season as the Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator. In his one full season as coach of the Trojans, Sarkisian went 9-4 and won the Holiday Bowl. The team was 3-2 at the time Sarkisian was let go in 2015.