Former Louisville basketball assistant Scooter McCray sued the NCAA on Wednesday, claiming an investigation into the school's basketball program tarnished his reputation and has blocked him from coaching.
After a long career as a player and assistant with the Cardinals, McCray left Louisville this summer when his contract expired. He has been unable to land another coaching job.
"Every school that had an opening, I sent out resumes and received a `thank you, but no thanks' letter," McCray said.
His lawyer claims the rejections are a fallout from the NCAA probe.
"He and his family went through two to three years of very bad times as a result of the NCAA's allegations," lawyer Gregg Hovious said.
"And even though we believe that in large part the NCAA exonerated Scooter of the allegations, it turns out ... people across the country in the college basketball community continue to believe he was somehow, frankly, a cheat."
McCray, who filed the suit in Jefferson Circuit Court, claimed defamation of character and invasion of privacy by the NCAA. The suit seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.
Calls to the NCAA's headquarters in Indianapolis seeking comment were not immediately returned.
The suit also names Wilson Inn & Suites as a defendant, claiming fraud, breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty.
McCray became embroiled in the NCAA's investigation into benefits provided Fred Johnson, father of forward Nate Johnson.
McCray was accused of arranging for Fred Johnson to reside at the hotel for a discounted rate, then providing his personal credit card to ensure Johnson wouldn't be evicted when he was delinquent paying his bill.
The suit accuses Wilson Inn and its employees of fraudulently posting charges to McCray's credit card in violation of his agreement with them.
The NCAA accused him of two rule violations, and McCray later left coach Denny Crum's staff after 10 years and was reassigned as a special assistant to athletic director Tom Jurich.
The NCAA originally placed the school on probation and banned the Cardinals from postseason play last season. It required any school interested in hiring McCray to clear the move through the NCAA.
An NCAA appeals committee lifted the postseason ban in February and limited McCray's penalty to time served.
McCray still carries the stigma of the investigation, his lawyer says.
"Scooter has sent a lot of resumes out and has not been able to even land an interview to be an assistant coach," he said, noting that before the investigation McCray was often mentioned as a future head coach.
"That seems to us to illustrate what this investigation has done to Scooter's reputation."
The suit makes no claim against Louisville or Crum. McCray, who played on the Cardinals' 1980 national championship team under Crum, said the coach supportehis fight to have the NCAA charges dropped.
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