USC Football Captain Jumps From Balcony to Rescue Nephew

Aug. 26 (Bloomberg) -- The University of Southern California is investigating football captain Josh Shaw’s story that he injured his ankles attempting to rescue his nephew from a swimming pool.

USC coach Steve Sarkisian, who yesterday called Shaw’s story “heroic,” told reporters today that the school has received calls claiming the story is false.

“He’s a good person, he’s a good kid, he came to us with what had occurred Saturday night and I have no reason, no history, to not believe Josh,” Sarkisian said on the school’s athletic department website. “In 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.”

USC posted a story on its athletics website yesterday saying that Shaw, 22, jumped off a second-floor balcony onto concrete while at a family function on Aug. 23. The senior cornerback sprained both ankles in the fall, then crawled to the pool to rescue his 7-year-old nephew, who cannot swim, the school said.

Sarkisian said Shaw, who in 2012 transferred to USC from the University of Florida, is “adamant” that he’s telling the truth. The first-year coach declined to provide details about what the callers were saying had occurred, and said Shaw wouldn’t be made available to comment until the matter is resolved.

“I just don’t want to put him in a situation to answer questions that we really don’t have the answers to,” Sarkisian said.

Shaw started all 14 games for the Trojans last year, making 67 tackles with four interceptions. He is studying sociology and was chosen to speak at the 2014 USC Student-Athlete Graduation ceremony, according to his online bio.

USC is ranked No. 15 in the Associated Press preseason poll. The Trojans open the season on Aug. 30 against Fresno State.

To contact the reporter on this story: Eben Novy-Williams in New York at enovywilliam@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net Dex McLuskey, Jay Beberman