USC's Shaw admits fabricating story

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Updated: 8/27 8:01 pm

Los Angeles, CA ( - USC defensive back Josh Shaw has been suspended indefinitely after admitting he fabricated a story about saving his nephew from drowning.

The university said in a news release that Shaw came clean Wednesday and has apologized.

Shaw said through an attorney that he was injured in a fall and regrets not telling the truth.

His story -- that he suffered two sprained ankles leaping from a second-floor balcony to rescue his nephew -- was investigated by the school after the athletic department received phone calls contradicting the account, Trojans coach Steve Sarkisian said Tuesday.

"We are extremely disappointed in Josh," Sarkisian said in a statement issued Wednesday. "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."

Shaw, 22, originally said he was attending a family function in his hometown of Palmdale, California, on Saturday when he witnessed his 7-year-old nephew struggling in a pool. The senior captain said he jumped down onto a concrete pavement before saving the boy.

The story was recounted in a blog post on the Trojans' website titled, "Shaw suffers injury while rescuing nephew." In the post, since removed from the website, Shaw says his nephew was "traumatized" by the incident but otherwise OK. Sarkisian is quoted calling the rescue "a heroic act."

The university said it regrets posting the original story.

In a statement through attorney Donald Etra, Shaw said he was injured Saturday "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," Shaw said.

"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, a returning starter who has seen time at both cornerback and safety for the Trojans, transferred to USC in 2012 after spending one season at Florida. He earned All-Pac-12 honorable mention honors as a junior after compiling 67 tackles and four interceptions while starting all 14 games.

He had already been ruled out of the No. 15 Trojans' season-opener against Fresno State on Saturday due to his injuries.

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