Georgia Tech head basketball coach Josh Pastner filed a civil lawsuit Friday against Ron Bell and Jennifer Pendley, alleging they knowingly released "false and patently untrue information" with the intent to damage his reputation and make him lose his job with the Yellow Jackets.
Mark Schlabach of ESPN.com passed along details of the suit and provided a statement from Pastner about the former Georgia Tech booster and his girlfriend.
"I am disgusted and devastated by the actions of two individuals to whom I showed compassion," he said. "My family and I are victims of fraud and extortion, and the extent to which these individuals have gone to harm us is truly unfathomable. I absolutely and unequivocally never assaulted or harassed Ms. Pendley, and I am truly sickened by these false claims."
In early November, Georgia Tech self-reported violations to the NCAA involving Tadric Jackson and Josh Okogie. The school said the players received "preferential treatment, benefits or services" and that Pastner didn't become aware of the situation until Oct. 2, when he "immediately reported" them.
Bell, who was not directly named in the Tech announcement, told Gary Parrish of CBS Sports the benefits he provided Jackson and Okogie far exceeded the numbers the university estimated and that Pastner knew about his action before early October.
"And basically what [Pastner] told me is, 'Nobody is going to believe you because you were in prison, and I've never been to prison, and I have a great reputation, and I don't cheat,'" he said. "And I said, 'You don't cheat?' Yes, you do. Yes, you do.'"
Bell claimed Pastner once handed him an envelope with $500 for players during the coach's time with the Memphis Tigers. He also alleged mail would arrive to his home from the coach with "$200 or $300" inside, and he told CBS Sports the coach wasn't "stupid" enough to earmark it for a specific reason.
"So [Pastner] told me, 'I need you to make sure my players are happy and that we're winning games. Whatever it takes,'" Bell said. "And I said, 'Whatever it takes?' And he said, 'Whatever it takes.'"
Lawyers for the Georgia Tech coach denied the allegations, per Schlabach.
"The evidence is clear that Josh—at no time—knew of, or participated in, the alleged NCAA violations," the attorneys said in a statement. "In fact, the evidence shows that Josh demanded compliance with NCAA rules and that when allegations were brought forward, he immediately contacted the appropriate compliance staff at Georgia Tech."
The ESPN.com report noted Bell was advised last month he's no longer allowed on school grounds and can't contact any members of the basketball team or athletic department.