UPDATE: Moments before Pete Carroll took the podium for what was to be an uneventful, farewell L.A. press conference, Yahoo Sports reported the USC has officially been notified by the NCAA that it will be meeting with the governing body on Feb. 19-21 to discuss the results of a nearly four-year NCAA investigation into Carroll’s USC football program.
According to typical NCAA procedures, if sanctions are necessary, they will be determined and then made public via a news conference within six to eight weeks of the February hearing.
Did that news have anything to do with Carroll leaving? Will it have an adverse affect on the school’s now-frantic coaching search?
Then there’s Michael McKnight of SI.com reporting today that Pete Carroll is involved in a civil lawsuit against one of his former assistant coaches.
Former USC assistant Dave Watson is being sued for over $1M in damages after crashing a USC-owned vehicle into another driver’s vehicle on an L.A. freeway in 2008. Watson was found to be severely impaired at the crash scene, under the influence of prescription medication. He later pleaded no contest to DUI charges.
Watson rammed 54-year-old Alaric Valentin’s car from behind, and Valentin is suing Watson for, “medical bills, future medical bills, pain and suffering, and legal costs incurred by Valentin, who was scheduled to undergo a pre-surgery MRI on Jan. 18.”
Valentin’s attorney claims that Carroll knew of Watson’s painkiller addiction and did nothing about it, which in turn allegedly helped cause Watson’s DUI crash into Valentin.
Carroll is scheduled to be deposed for the lawsuit in the near future, with USC counsel having already delayed his appearance on numerous occasions. (And successful kept the matter out of the press to this point.)
Carroll is scheduled to face the media at 6p ET today. We’ll see if he’s asked about the case. If he is, he’ll surely say that it didn’t have anything to do with him leaving SC for Seattle.
According to two sources I talked to with knowledge of Carroll’s situation, Watson’s legal situation did not have a big impact on Carroll’s decision to leave. Sanctions yes, Watson thing, no.
Also it’s important to note that Watson was fired eight months after his accident, which Watson attributed under oath to his DUI and subsequent lawsuit. USC denies the charge.
I’ve been told be a USC staffer who worked with Watson that Watson was not well-liked by players and coaches and that he was in fact justifiably fired for poor job performance. The staff also told me that Watson was initially hired by Carroll as a favor to Lane and Monte Kiffin. Watson played high school football with Lane in Minnesota.
UPDATE: Carroll held a presser today in Los Angeles and wasn’t asked about the Watson case, though he sprinted off the podium after a limited number of questions.