UP Point Guard Crisshawn Clark Suing University of Oregon for Negligence
Crisshawn Clark, a junior guard who transferred to the University of Portland from the University of Pittsburgh this year, is suing the University of Oregon and various men’s basketball coaches for negligence after a 2015 recruiting visit ended in him tearing his ACL.
The lawsuit claims that the workout in which he sustained the injury never should have happened, and UO violated NCAA rules by making him work out for them.
The lawsuit was filed through Multnomah County Circuit Court and states that Clark is seeking at least $100,000 for “pain and suffering” and loss of future income because of the injury. The suit names defendants Dana Altman, head coach for the University of Oregon men’s team, assistant coaches Kevin McKenna, Mike Mennenga and Tony Stubblefield and Director of Basketball Operations Josh Jamieson.
Clark and the University of Portland declined to comment on the lawsuit.
Clark at the time was a junior college student at Canada College, a junior college in San Mateo, California, and had just finished a season where he was named the 2015 Northern California freshman of the year. He had averaged 15 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 3.0 assists that year and had received a scholarship offer from the Ducks in October of 2015.
That same month Kevin McKenna, an assistant coach for the UO basketball team, set up an official paid recruiting visit to Eugene, Oregon. The lawsuit says that during the visit, McKenna arranged a workout for Clark, and instructed Mike Mennenga, another assistant coach, to facilitate.
According to the lawsuit, Mennenga picked up Clark from his hotel at 9:00 a.m. and took Clark to campus to work him out. He was given gear by the university to work out in and then proceeded to work out with Mennenga. The lawsuit says he went through three drills, and the third one was the one in which he sustained the injury.
The lawsuit says that in the third drill Clark participated in, he had to drive and finish at the rim through contact. It says that after avoiding contact and missing the shot, Mennenga insisted that he could not end on a miss and that he do it again. Clark took a shot from the outside and was told that jump shots are not a part of the drill and to go again.
Clark then drove to the basket, and according to the lawsuit, Mennenga “unexpectedly gave him a hard chest bump which threw Mr. Clark off his stride.” When Clark landed, he felt a snap in his left knee and knew that he had torn his ACL, which he had already had repaired in April 2015 for a partial tear.
The injury caused him to miss his sophomore year at Canada, sitting out the year after getting surgical reconstruction on his left knee for a complete tear of his ACL. The lawsuit states that University of Oregon paid for the surgery. However, Clark is suing on the grounds that he shouldn’t have been worked out in the first place due to NCAA bylaw 126.96.36.199.
The Bylaw states “For a two-year college prospective student-athlete, the evaluation may be conducted only after the conclusion of the prospective student-athlete’s season and he or she has exhausted his or her two-year college eligibility in basketball.”
“U of O violated the aforementioned NCAA bylaw by putting Mr. Clark through an evaluative workout prior to the exhaustion of his two-year eligibility in basketball, as well as after U of O’s opening day of classes for its term,” the lawsuit states.
Clark announced his transfer to the University of Portland from Pitt in April of 2017 after missing the 2016-17 season due to a torn MCL and meniscus in his left knee from a non-contact drill. He will sit out the 2017-18 season due to NCAA transfer rules.
You can read the full complaint here.