Pete Carroll left USC for the NFL roughly five months before the NCAA dropped the hammer on the Trojans, slapping them with a two-year bowl ban, the loss of 30 scholarships and a forfeiture of victories from their 2004 championship season. The assumption has always been that Carroll knew what was coming and got out while he could. He claims that is not true at all.
Even after taking the job with the Seattle Seahawks, Carroll has maintained that he did nothing wrong at USC. He calls the penalties “extraordinarily overdone,” claiming USC had no knowledge of Reggie Bush or anyone else receiving cash and benefits.
“It does bother me because it’s not right and it’s not accurate,” Carroll said, per Gary Klein of the LA Times. “I didn’t feel bad about leaving at all. I didn’t feel bad about it because I knew what the truth was.”
Carroll insists he had no idea the NCAA was about to slap USC with such a massive punishment before he left for the NFL. In fact, he says he would have stayed and tried to right the ship had he been aware.
“The truth was, an opportunity came up and it was one I couldn’t turn away from,” he said. “The NCAA came back at the university … ‘Now we’re going to revisit after five years.’ I had no knowledge that was coming. We thought maybe it wasn’t coming because they didn’t have anything to get us with. It wasn’t five days, it wasn’t five weeks. It was five years.
“Had we known that that was imminent … I would never have been able to leave under those circumstances. When I look back now, I would have stayed there to do what we needed to do to resolve the problem.”
Sure you would have, Pete. USC hasn’t been the same since Carroll left, while his career has turned out just fine. While the Seahawks are still smiling from their dominant Super Bowl victory over the Denver Broncos, Steve Sarkisian will look to bring the Trojans back from the dead. I’m sure Carroll really wishes he could be there to rebuild.