Los Angeles, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - USC head football coach Steve Sarkisian admitted to reporters Tuesday that the school has begun examining claims made by defensive back Josh Shaw that he injured himself while saving a nephew from drowning over the weekend.
Sarkisian confirmed media reports that the USC athletic department has received phone calls contradicting Shaw's story, which the Trojans' media relations staff made public on the school's official website on Monday.
Shaw told school officials that he was attending a family function in his hometown of Palmdale, California on Saturday and witnessed his 7-year-old nephew struggling in a pool from a balcony on the second floor. The senior captain said he immediately jumped down onto a concrete pavement before successfully ushering the young boy to safety.
USC disclosed that Shaw suffered sprains to both of his ankles, presumably from the fall.
After being contacted from undisclosed sources that questioned Shaw's remarks, Sarkisian said that the university will investigate the matter further.
"Josh Shaw, first and foremost, is a good person, a good kid," said Sarkisian during his press conference. "He came to us with what had occurred Saturday night and I have no reason, no history to not believe Josh and his story and what has occurred. Obviously within the last few hours or so we've gotten a few phone calls contradicting what Josh said occurred Saturday night, so we're going to continue to vet it. We're looking at it, but beyond that, I only know what I know. Josh is adamant with what occurred."
Sarkisian also said that Shaw, a returning starter who has seen time at both cornerback and safety for the Trojans, will not be made available to the media until the program completes the investigation.
"I just don't want to put him in a situation of answering questions that we really don't have all the answers to," he said.
Shaw transferred to USC in 2012 after spending one season at Florida and earned All-Pac-12 honorable mention honors as a junior after compiling 67 tackles and four interceptions while starting all 14 games.
The 22-year-old had already been ruled out of the 15th-ranked Trojans' season opener against Fresno State on Saturday due to his injuries.