LOS ANGELES (AP) - A judge says the NCAA was ``malicious'' in its investigation of a former USC assistant coach who was linked in a report to a scandal surrounding Heisman Trophy-winning tailback Reggie Bush.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Frederick Shaller says the NCAA's report on ethical breaches by Todd McNair was flawed and that the former coach has shown a probability he can win his defamation claims.
The NCAA had sought to have the case dismissed, but Shaller disagreed Wednesday. He called actions of investigators ``over the top.''
McNair sued the NCAA in June 2011, claiming its investigation was one-sided and his future earnings were hurt by its report on the scandal, which led to sanctions against USC.
The NCAA claimed McNair knew about some of the gifts lavished on Bush's family by two aspiring sports marketers hoping to land Bush as a client.

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