Let me get this out there. Right now everyone is suspicious, and rightfully so, of Carroll. That he somehow knew the outcome of the investigation some eight months before the sanctions committee even knew it themselves, and pre-planned to abandon the sinking vessel.
Sure. Hold on to that if it makes you feel warm and fuzzy. But it’s likely not the truth.
Was Carrol aware that something was going down? Of course. As were you and I or anyone else that can read, since Yahoo sports first broke the story in April of 2006. Truth is this is a systemic problem in college athletics. Truth is Carroll was planning on going back to the NFL when the right job with the right team and the right people and the right amount of control would land at his feet. And it happened.
If you want to blame Carroll for his loosey-goosey open door policy or his care free style of coaching, go ahead and do it. But remember, that’s exactly what you loved about the guy. And more importantly that’s what the players loved about him. That drew the recruits. That’s how he reeled them in before he taught them to be champions. And they were.
Seven consecutive conference championships. Two National Championships. Three Heisman Trophy winners.
Do you remember the Hackett years? If there had been no Pete Carroll the sanctions would be less severe, because there would likely be no championships or meaningful post-season bowl games to lose. And it’s highly likely USC football program would be in the same, if not a worse spot than they are now.
Pete Carroll built a brand here at USC. He restored it to greatness. He presided over one of the best programs in College football history. Quit crying that he jumped ship on you. He didn’t. But you all seem to be jumping ship on him pretty fast.
Did he have a part in bringing about these sanctions? Yes, in that the one who is supposed to be in control is always blamed for the things he has little or no control over. Could he have done better? Yes. Could the Athletic Department have implemented better supervision? Yes.
All I’m saying is compartmentalize your emotions. Give Carroll the blame the man is due. No more, no less. But for god sakes, give him credit where you know it’s due.