USC Coach Steve Sarkisian reacts to report on alcohol bill from retreats

USC Coach Steve Sarkisian speaks to the media Tuesday morning regarding his behavior at USC's Salute to Troy event last weekend.

USC Coach Steve Sarkisian speaks to the media Tuesday morning regarding his behavior at USC’s Salute to Troy event last weekend.

(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

USC Coach Steve Sarkisian continues to feel the fallout from his inebriated appearance at a booster event last week.

The Seattle Times reported that Sarkisian was reimbursed $1,023 by the University of Washington for alcohol as part of two group retreats in California in 2012 and 2013 for what an athletic department spokesman told the newspaper were legitimate expenses.

After a closed practice at the Coliseum on Thursday, Sarkisian said he was aware of the story.

“It was something that had to do with coaches, wives and administrators,” he said. “As the head coach of a football program, I don’t feel bad for paying for a receipt with people that are there with us.... There are a lot of things that could get detailed positively out of that and/or negatively, quite honestly, I guess, but the reality of it is I was the head coach and I took the receipt and I don’t feel bad about eating dinner and having a good time. There weren’t people drinking and driving.


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“It’s unfortunate that that is the focus of the time that was spent because there was a lot of really quality dialogue that took place in that weekend.”

Sarkisian said he was aware that other stories could appear but he was not concerned they would become a distraction for the Trojans, who are preparing for their Sept. 5 opener against Arkansas State.

“I’m not as concerned about one thing being a distraction, there’s a million things it could be,” he said. “It’s what are we doing every week to make sure we’re focused and detail-oriented so that we can go out and play our best football.”

Sarkisian said he felt supported by players and that it has brought them closer to him.

Sarkisian said Tuesday that he would seek unspecified treatment to find out if he has a drinking problem. The time spent on that, he said Thursday, can be managed in an already busy schedule.

“I’m taking it as a positive,” he said. “Sometimes it’s good to self-reflect. Sometimes it’s good to be able to open up a Bible and read, quite honestly. So I don’t take it on as a negative or, ‘What am I going to do with my time now?’

“It’s more of a ‘This is probably good.’ And as I can figure it out maybe it will be good for a lot of other people as well.”


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