Shaw said he suffered a pair of high ankle sprains Saturday night after jumping from the second story of an apartment complex to save his 7-year-old nephew, who was struggling in the pool. Shaw said his nephew did not know how to swim. He admitted to team officials on Wednesday that the story was a complete fabrication.
Head coach Steve Sarkisian said Tuesday the school received several calls questioning the authenticity of Shaw's story and had been investigating the matter.
"We are extremely disappointed in Josh," Sarkisian said in the statement. "He let us all down. As I have said, nothing in his background led us to doubt him when he told us of his injuries, nor did anything after our initial vetting of his story.
"I appreciate that Josh has now admitted that he lied and has apologized. Although this type of behavior is out of character for Josh, it is unacceptable. Honesty and integrity must be at the center of our program. I believe Josh will learn from this. I hope that he will not be defined by this incident, and that the Trojan Family will accept his apology and support him."
The school did not specify in its statement how Shaw actually sustained his injuries. Shortly after USC issued its statement, Shaw's attorney released his own statement in which Shaw said he injured himself "in a fall."
"I made up a story about this fall that was untrue," Shaw said. "I was wrong not to tell the truth. I apologize to USC for this action on my part. My USC coaches, The USC Athletic Department, and especially coach Sarkisian have all been supportive of me during my college career and for that, I am very grateful."
Earlier in the day, Sarkisian had said the school's investigation into the authenticity of Shaw's story was in a "holding pattern" and was being handled by campus authorities.
After Wednesday's practice, only two players -- Leonard Williams and Hayes Pullard -- were made available to the media and both players said they had not seen nor spoken to Shaw since the story broke and had not tried to reach out to him. Team leaders held a short meeting with Sarkisian on the field after practice about dealing with the situation.
"None of the players really know about the Josh Shaw situation," Williams said. "[Sarkisian] basically told us to stay focused and don't let it affect us on Saturday. We've had to deal with so much more adversity the past years even before this. Our team has adjusted to playing through adversity."
Williams and Pullard said they saw no need to reach out to Shaw and discover for themselves what really happened the night he was injured.
"I really don't know," Pullard said when asked why neither he nor any of the teammates he has talked to has reached out to Shaw. "He and Sark had a meeting together and we haven't seen him since that day. We're just leaving it to Coach Sark, he's the head man and that's who we answer to."
Sarkisian addressed reporters for only five minutes after practice. He spent two minutes addressing the Shaw situation before only taking football questions.