For four years Pete Carroll has lived with the public image that he left USC’s football program to escape sanctions levied five months after his departure for the Seattle Seahawks coaching job. According to Carroll, in a recent interview with the Los Angeles Times, the narrative is all backwards.
“It does bother me because it’s not right and it’s not accurate,” Carroll said. “… I didn’t feel bad about leaving at all. I didn’t feel bad about it because I knew what the truth was.”
The Super Bowl-winning coach said he had no knowledge of the NCAA’s plans to punish the Trojans in 2010 for a number of violations including giving improper benefits to Reggie Bush. Had he been aware, Carroll said there’s no way he would have left the program to fend for itself.
“The truth was, an opportunity came up and it was one I couldn’t turn away from,” Carroll 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.”
Despite his reputation in the NFL, Carroll has yet to fully shed himself of the mess.
— Ryan Glasspiegel (@sportsrapport) June 9, 2014
So Pete Carroll says he wouldn’t have left USC had he known sanctions were coming. He also has ocean front property in Indiana for sale. — Darin Pritchett (@Sportsbeat960) June 9, 2014
Pete Carroll should just stop commenting on USC. We all know he bolted, its fine with me. But don’t lie. http://t.co/FBTbrrA6fJ
— Greg Smith (@GregSmithBSO) June 9, 2014
In nine seasons under Carroll’s direction, the Trojans compiled a 97-19 record, won six BCS bowl games including the 2005 Championship Game and earned back-t0-back AP National Championships.
As a result of the sanctions, USC forfeited its one BCS championship, 14 of those 97 wins, and 30 scholarships over three years. They were also hit with a two-year bowl ban.
Carroll, 62, believed from day one that the sanctions were out of line, that he “never thought there were any facts that supported significant sanctions.”
“The university didn’t know,” Carroll added in a video response to the allegations. “We didn’t know.”
He still maintains the stance. “What I hope comes out of this is that this never happens to a university again,” Carroll said. “I think it was extraordinarily overdone, an overreaction.”
How do you feel about the Pete Carroll-USC situation? Is it old news? Do you forgive Carroll? Let us know in the comments.