After 20 years, the feud between Jerry Tarkanian and the NCAA might be headed for a final showdown in court.
Santa Ana attorney Terry Giles filed a lawsuit accusing the NCAA of using "enforcement atrocities" to drive Tarkanian from coaching. Tarkanian's wife, Lois, was listed as a counter-claimant because, Giles said, the NCAA also has caused emotional and financial harm to her.
Monetary damages were not specified, but Giles said: "We believe experts will be able to show millions of dollars in lost endorsements and other income (because Tarkanian was) a famous figure with a famous face (who had been) tagged a cheater by the NCAA."
Named as defendants are the NCAA; Walter Byers, former executive director of the NCAA; David Berst, chief of the NCAA's Enforcement Division, and Robert Stoup, an investigator in the Tarkanian case.
The lawsuit alleges that the NCAA targeted Tarkanian while he was coaching at Cal State Long Beach in 1972. It claims that Tarkanian drew the NCAA's wrath by writing articles critical of the body for the Long Beach Press-Telegram.
The suit quotes Berst as telling witnesses, "I'm going to get Tarkanian if it takes the rest of my career."
The NCAA filed suit against the state of Nevada last month to overturn a due-process law passed by the Nevada Legislature. That suit is scheduled to be heard by a federal judge in Las Vegas on Feb. 28. Giles said Tarkanian was forced by law to file the countersuit or lose forever his chance to sue the NCAA.
Tarkanian announced in June that he would quit at the end of the season as head of the Nevada Las Vegas basketball program. UNLV is banned from postseason play, and Giles said he would seek a court order in connection with the suit to overturn the NCAA's action.