Video: Pete Carroll Reacts To USC NCAA Sanctions

Pete Carroll gave his reaction to the NCAA sanctions levied against the USC football program today in a video uploaded to his personal Youtube.com account. The video and a transcription of all of this comments are below.

Pete Carroll

“I’m absolutely shocked and disappointed at the findings of the NCAA. I never, ever thought it would come to this. After nine years of working at the university and going through all of the challenges, the accomplishments that all of the people took part in, I’m extremely disappointed that we have to deal with this right now.

“After going through the process, from the depositions and the interviews, for years and years, and also participating in the hearing for the NCAA, I never thought there was any facts that supported these significant sanctions that have come forth.

“The primary issue throughout the process was ‘did the university know’? The university didn’t know, we didn’t know. We were not aware of any of these findings. I think it’s important for you to know that through all aspects of the program we were vigilant in the way we approached every aspect. We were always out there to do things better than they’ve ever been done before. Read more…

Reggie Bush Reality Show This Time Actually Real

Reggie Bush in 2006: “When this is all said and done, everybody will see at the end of the day that we’ve done nothing, absolutely nothing wrong.”

Reggie Bush in 2006: He did nothing wrong

So Bush is either a liar or an idiot. Read more…

Prescient Reggie Bush Never Cheats His Tweeps

As the NCAA prepares to release its investigative report on the USC football program, Reggie Bush apparently was kind enough last weekend to keep us entertained in the meantime:

Reggie Bush Tweet On World Cup Players Not Getting Paid

(Had to be a hack … right?)

Did you know that soccer players who participate in the world cup do not get paid! Just found that out… Read more…

$4M: Kiffin Making More Than Saban Did In 2009

HBO’s Real Sports profiles Lane Kiffin on Tuesday and in the piece reporter Andrea Kremer claims the 35-year-old’s new contract with the school will pay him $4 million annually. Kiffin’s decorated predecessor Pete Carroll made $4.4M his last year in L.A., qualifying the coach as the highest-paid employee of any private school in the America at the time.

Lane Kiffin making $4 million per season as USC coach

(Credit)

Of course, Carroll won seven consecutive Pac-10 titles and two BCS Championships before he reached that level of compensation. Lane’s claim to fame is having won the friendship of Carroll, who was largely responsible for getting him the NFL Oakland and Tennessee head coaching jobs.

The $4M number pegs Kiffin as the fourth-highest paid coach in the nation, behind Bob Stoops, Mack Brown and Nick Saban. Saban was raised to nearly $5m per season after winning the BCS Title at ‘Bama earlier this year. Brown also was bumped up to $5.1M after 2009. Urban Meyer currently draws $4M per season, equal to Kiffin’s compensation. Read more…

Carroll: ‘Surprised’ If USC Sanctioned By NCAA

Pete Carroll appeared on the Dan Patrick radio show today and addressed the NCAA investigation into the USC football program and his reaction to former USC linebacker Brian Cushing testing positive for a banned substance in an NFL drug test last September.

Brian Cushing Pete Caroll Reggie Bush

Carroll on Cushing testing positive: “Disappointed. … I don’t know anything about it.

Carroll on if Cushing ever tested positive for anything at USC: “We can’t talk about stuff like that. I would never say that anyone ever did.

In a statement on USC’s official website last year, Carroll denied that Cushing had ever tested positive for steroids:

“These rumors are absolutely false. If they were found positive, Clay and Cush would have been notified three weeks ago, which they weren’t and all of the NFL teams would have been notified too, which they weren’t.

“They’re both men of outstanding character and they never tested positive for anything here. This is an [sic] major example of irresponsible reporting, and the site that published this report should be ashamed of themselves.”

Carroll’s also provided thoughts on the nature and outcome of the four-year NCAA investigation into his USC football program. Read more…

Reggie Bush Hush Money Too Late To Save USC?

Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports reports today that Reggie Bush recently wrote a hush money check to the man who reportedly helped him and USC break NCAA rules, sports marketing financier Lloyd Lake.

Reggie Bush Hush Money Too Late To Save His Heisman

(Bush response to his reported cheating? Vewy vewy quiet)

Bush previously used the pseudo lawsuit from Lake as a mechanism to avoid having to ever face NCAA questioning about the reported illegal benefits he was provided by Lake and Michael Michaels while he was winning the Heisman Trophy and BCS Championship with the Trojans.

It was the lawsuit by Lake that Bush cited in February when refusing to defend himself and USC against cheating charges. So the guy whose reported illegal actions may well bring down the USC football program manipulated the legal system to hide from the NCAA. If only Pete Carroll, Lane Kiffin, Mike Garrett and others had been such gifted litigants!

So does this mean that Bush hiding from the NCAA will cause USC to get off lighter when sanctions come down next month?

On the contrary. Read more…

NCAA-SC Report: One Hour Before Carroll Farewell

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.

Dave Watson Former Assistant Coach For Pete Carroll's USC Trojans

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.

Carroll Leaves One Month Before Bush Bombshell

Charles Robinson and Jason Cole of Yahoo Sports report this morning that after turning down the NCAA’s request for an interview for three years, Reggie Bush has finally met with NCAA investigators over possible improprieties while he played for USC.

Pete Carroll resigns one day before Bush NCAA interview revelation

(Careful with that, sir. Do you know our return policy?)

The revelation only hours after Pete Carroll resigned his position as USC coach to likely become the coach of the Seattle Seahawks.

While specifics of Bush’s interview are not known, Yahoo reports that Heisman Trophy winner Bush denied allegations that he received improper benefits from SoCal businessmen Lloyd Lake and Michael Michaels while playing at USC.

Bush was sued by both men separately after he left USC and did not enter into business agreements with them. The Saints running back later paid Michaels a $300,000 settlement but Bush’s case with Lake is still pending.

While the NCAA continues to investigate USC over the charges against Bush, and now allegations that Joe McKnight was improperly provided a free SUV by an L.A. businessman, the legal proceeding between Lake and Bush is a little over a month away. A proceeding that will almost certainly involve Carroll’s participation.

Read more…

Report: Carroll Has ‘Accepted’ Seahawks Position

UPDATE: Scott Wolf of the L.A. DAILY NEWS reports:

Pete Carroll did not officially inform USC he was leaving as of Friday afternoon but sources within the university said he accepted a job with the Seattle Seahawks and only needed to agree to final contract details.

Pete Carroll

USC sources said Carroll agreed to a five-year deal with the Seahawks with the only question how much power he would have in the organization. The Seahawks lack a coach and general manager and Carroll’s often expressed a hope to do both when he returned to the NFL.

Not a good sign Pete Carroll is staying at USC when the head PR guy for the Trojans football team, Tim Tessalone, tells the LOS ANGELES TIMES that, “I’ve put a message out to him (Carroll), but haven’t heard back yet. At this point, we have nothing to report. Perhaps check with the Seahawks.

Sam Farmer and Gary Klein of the Times report:

The Seahawks and Carroll are close to a deal, which is believed to be a five-year contract to become president and head coach at $7 million a year, nothing has been signed, said sources close to the situation who are not authorized to speak on his behalf.

I’ve subsequently learned myself that Leslie Frazier will not be interviewing with the Seahawks on Saturday, as was reported earlier today by ESPN.

Read more…

USC Reportedly Interested In Mike Riley As Coach

UPDATE (6:24p ET): I’ve been told by a USC admin source that the school is primarily interested in Riley, Jack Del Rio and Jeff Fisher. I haven’t confirmed if the interest is mutual.

ESPN’s Bruce Feldman reports this afternoon that prominent representatives of USC are attempting to contact Mike Riley to gauge his interest in the Trojans football coaching job. Feldman also Tweeted:

Mike Riley

IF Pete Carroll leaves USC, look the Trojans to make a run at #Oregon St coach Mike Riley. Fast. Trojan brass loves him, I’m told.

Sam Farmer of the LOS ANGELES TIMES reports today that current USC Coach Pete Carroll interviewed with the Seattle Seahawks about their coaching position last week.

Farmer:

A Seahawks contingent including CEO Tod Leiweke interviewed Carroll in Los Angeles earlier this week to gauge his interest in replacing Mora.

Chris Mortensen added on ESPN this afternoon that he would be “surprised if Pete Carroll isn’t the head coach of the Seattle Seahawks.” Mortensen also said a deal could be in place as soon as early next week.

So what’s the feeling around here in Los Angeles about Carroll you ask?

Read more…