Much has been written about the unique personality of USC Trojans head coach Pete Carroll. We know he takes walks through the ghetto in the middle of the night, hands out his cell phone number to random people on the street, and believes in the power of Twitter and positive thinking in order to WIN FOREVER. He’s an unorthodox man whose smile can brighten up all of southern California and whose personality is powerful enough to build a college football powerhouse.
But one thing Pete Carroll cannot do is hire “consultants” to circumvent NCAA limitations on coaching hires. This, however, is exactly what the NCAA alleges that he did last season when he hired veteran NFL coach Pete Rodriguez to “consult” his special teams units and report back to the head coach. That, not coincidentally, is exactly what a coach does. And it’s why they’re in a bit of a pickle.
The restrictions are in place as an attempt to level the playing field in college, a quaint and somewhat laughable notion. The idea is that limiting all schools to the same number of coaches will prevent wealthy programs like USC from hiring eleventy billion high-priced coaches to recruit around the clock and WIN FOREVER. USC, naturally, denied any wrongdoing according to the LOS ANGELES TIMES:
“This is something that we have gone through all the proper channels a long time ago to make sure that we were doing the right thing and all that,” Carroll said at Pacific 10 Conference media day. “We’ve documented it.”
Carroll declined to specify what Rodriguez did in his role, but said the former NFL coach was within the parameters of NCAA rules.
“We stuck with what we [how] understood it and interpret it,” Carroll said. “We tried to do everything exactly the right way.”
Carroll confirmed that Alex Gibbs and other coaches with NFL experience have served as consultants during his tenure at USC, but he declined to name them.
But NCAA investigator J. Brent Clark disagrees, USC gets another little black mark in the NCAA’s neverending investigation, and life continues as usual. Why shouldn’t a team be able to bring in whoever they want in an effort to improve? Colleges bring in consultants and special position coaches all the time to work with players one-on-one, and it’s perfectly within the NCAA’s guidelines. But put that former NFL coach at an official team practice and it’s illegal? We don’t usually miss an opportunity to kick USC athletics down a notch whenever possible, but this is just another example of the NCAA’s obsolescence.