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.”
As the Times notes, USC is in the final months of four years worth of penalties levied by the NCAA.
As if this day wasn’t busy enough, Ole Miss announced late Monday evening star-crossed offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil‘s suspension has been capped at seven games, meaning he’ll miss Saturday’s trip to Memphis but return in time for Texas A&M visit to The Grove on Oct. 24.
From the university:
The University initially withheld Tunsil from competition at the start of the season as both the NCAA and the University examined several alleged improper benefits. During the course of the process, it was determined by the NCAA that Tunsil received impermissible extra benefits that included the use of three separate loaner vehicles over a sixth-month period without payment, a four-month interest-free promissory note on a $3,000 down payment for purchasing a used vehicle, two nights of lodging at a local home, an airline ticket purchased by a friend of a teammate, and one day use of a rental vehicle. In addition, it was determined that Tunsil was not completely forthcoming when initially questioned by NCAA investigators regarding the loaner vehicles. He later corrected his account and since apologized.
As part of his reinstatement conditions, the NCAA imposed a seven-game suspension, ordered Tunsil to pay the value of the extra benefits to a charity, perform community service, and he will also make the vehicle down payment.
Said Tunsil: “I take full responsibility for the mistakes I made and want to thank everyone for their continued support. I want to apologize to my teammates, coaches and the entire Ole Miss family for how my choices affected our program. This was a learning experience, and I’m looking forward to being back on the field with my team and redeeming myself. The last 10 months have been a physical and mental battle for me, but I love playing this game more than anything else. I want to be here for my teammates who are depending on me to finish what we started together.”
The news is, obviously, great for Tunsil and head coach Hugh Freeze personally, as well as the entire Ole Miss football program. It’s also a nice plus for NFL scouts, as it means Tunsil’s first live action of 2015 will come against possible future No. 1 draft pick Myles Garrett.
Hope he’s been practicing.
Say it ain’t so, Steve.
According to a report from Thayer Evans of Sports Illustrated Monday evening, Steve Spurrier is set to retire.
Spurrier, 70, is a legend the likes college football has never seen before and never will again.
He was a Heisman Trophy winning quarterback at Florida, then returned to his alma mater and turned the program into a juggernaut, leading the Gators to 122-27-1 record from 1990-01 and a national championship in 1996. After a stint with the NFL’s Washington Redskins, Spurrier landed at South Carolina, where since 2005 he’s racked up a school record 86 wins.
But those wins slowed down of late. After an SEC East championship in 2010 and three straight 11-2 seasons from 2011-13, the Gamecocks fell to 7-6 in 2014, and are off to a 2-4 mark this fall. With the possibility of losses to nemeses old and new like Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Florida and Clemson ahead, Spurrier, it appears, would rather fade away quietly to the putting green.
Perhaps no two sentences summarize Spurrier, then and now, more precisely than this:
Combined with his three years at Duke, Spurrier closes up shop with a 228-89-2 mark, and a bust in the coaches’ wing of the Hall of Fame waiting for him.