Shortly after USC was slapped with near-historic NCAA sanctions in relation to the Reggie Bush scandal, Pete Carroll, who by sheer coincidence (winkwinknudgenudge) fled the Trojans for the NFL a few months earlier, lashed out at the NCAA for what he felt were heavy-handed and unfair penalties levied against his former football program.
Nearly four years later, Carroll’s still miffed.
While acknowledging USC “made some mistakes along the way,” the head coach of the reigning Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks insisted Wednesday that the “venom” in which the NCAA pursued the case led to The Association making “a terrible error” and was a situation that “was dealt with poorly and very irrationally and done with way too much emotion instead of facts.”
In June of 2010, the NCAA announced the Trojans would be stripped of 30 scholarships over a three-year period and subject to a two-year bowl ban. The sanctions were the result of a lengthy investigation — some, including Carroll, might call it an extended vendetta — that revealed Bush had received upwards of $300,000 in illegal benefits while the running back was a member of Carroll’s football program.
The NCAA found that Carroll’s running backs coach at the time, Todd McNair, was aware of the impermissible benefits, slapping the assistant with a one-year show-cause after he “provided false and misleading information to the enforcement staff” and “violated NCAA legislation by signing a document certifying that he had no knowledge of NCAA violations.”
“We just didn’t know what was going on,” Carroll said according to the Los Angeles Times following a public appearance at his former school Wednesday. “Had we known I would like to think we would do the right thing and would have stopped everything and fixed it by doing what we should have done. But unfortunately, because we didn’t know, the university gets killed over the deal.”