The story seemed so uplifting -- a college football player who injured himself while rescuing his drowning nephew.
Only, it didn’t happen.
USC football player Josh Shaw admitted to lying about the “rescue” Wednesday, days after his account first emerged. He’s now suspended indefinitely.
Shaw isn’t the first major athlete to be ensnared in a lie, only to have the situation blow up. Here are six notable examples of sports figures undercut by a lie:
Baseball’s all-time hit king faced a lifetime ban over accusations that he bet on the game as a manager with the Cincinnati Reds -- accusations Rose vehemently denied for more than a decade.
“I am innocent about some things, and I’m guilty about other things,” Rose said in a 1991 interview. “Obviously, I am guilty of the things I admitted to, but no way did I bet on baseball, and I’ll never admit I did.”
He reiterated those sentiments after being honored on Major League Baseball’s All-Century Team in 1999.
“I’m not gonna admit something that didn’t happen,” he said at the time.
But five years later, in an interview with ABC's Charlie Gibson, Rose finally came clean.
“Yes I did,” he said when asked about betting on baseball, “and that was my mistake, not coming clean a lot earlier.”
A decade following his admission, Rose remains banished from the game.
Lance Armstrong served as a national inspiration –- a cancer survivor who went on to win seven Tour de France titles.
His Livestrong Foundation has raised more than $500 million, with much of that going to cancer research and other endeavors.
But was Armstrong’s cycling success natural? Armstrong faced consistent doping allegations during his successful run, especially as teammates and competitors were felled by scandal.
He addressed those accusations in a 2004 column published in the San Francisco Chronicle, writing, “I have said it before and I will say it again: I believe that I am the most tested athlete on this planet, I have never had a single positive doping test, and I do not take performance-enhancing drugs.”
He reiterated those comments in 2010 statement, questioning doping allegations raised by former teammate Floyd Landis.
"As long as I live, I will deny it,” he said. “There was absolutely no way I forced people, encouraged people, told people, helped people, facilitated. Absolutely not. One hundred percent."
He finally changed his tune in 2013, admitting to doping in an interview with Oprah Winfrey amid an investigation by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.
Alex Rodriguez was known as his generation’s most complete baseball player, a slugging third baseman in position to challenge the sport’s major records. In 2007, the Yankees superstar said he had never used steriods.
Within two years, Rodriguez was telling a different story, admitting that he took steroids during his three years with the Texas Rangers from 2001 to 2003.
“I felt an enormous amount of pressure. I felt like I had all the weight of the world on top of me and I needed to perform, and perform at a high level every day,” he told ESPN’s Peter Gammons.
Rodriguez is suspended this season due to a second steroids controversy, this time involving a Florida drug clinic.
Notre Dame football star Manti Te’o suffered two devastating losses during the 2012 football season -– the death of his grandmother and girlfriend within days of each other.
Articles about his relationship with Lennay Kekua started circulating in the weeks that followed –- about their chance 2009 meeting, the trips to Hawaii together, how they officially started dating in 2011. Those details were reiterated in an interview with Sports Illustrated.
The problem? Kekua didn’t exist -– with Te’o victimized by an acquaintance in a “catfishing” scheme. Te’o lied about the situation, but later came clean as word of the hoax spread.
"Now I get a phone call on Dec. 6, saying that she's alive and then I'm going be put on national TV two days later. And to ask me about the same question. You know, what would you do?" he said.
Te’o has moved past the situation as best as he could and is entering his second NFL season for the San Diego Chargers.
In 2008, Nevada football player Kevin Hart held a signing ceremony to announce his college decision -– University of California or University of Oregon. With his coaches, family and friends looking on, he chose the University of California.
But Cal was never recruiting him. There was no scholarship offer. It was all made up.
"I wanted to play D-I ball more than anything," he later said. "When I realized that wasn't going to happen, I made up what I wanted to be reality."
Rosie Ruiz crossed the Boston Marathon’s finish line first on April 21, 1980.
The Cuba-native recorded a time of 2:31:56 – a female record for the event, and a sizeable improvement from her usual times.
She credited energy -– but other factors were at play, too, including jumping into the race near the finish line for one of running’s biggest hoaxes. She was later stripped of her title.
Earlier, she pulled a similar stunt during the New York City Marathon, taking the subway for part of the race.