Saturday, January 09, 2010


Fall Of The House of Troy

After two national championships (one shared) and losing another by a hair, USC's Pete Carroll has decided to head back to the NFL. He's apparently reached an agreement in principle with the Seattle Seahawks. Carroll's previous pro stays -- with the Jets and Patriots in the '90s -- weren't much to write home over.

Considering USC's rather mediocre (for them) '09 season, one might think that Carroll just came to the conclusion that there were no more mountains for him to climb. Why bother rebuilding the program, just so it can conquer the Pac-10 again? Are there more possible championships in the offing? Maybe not -- the SEC looks like it will be dominant for several more years (Alabama, in particular).

But is there perhaps something else going on? Is it possible Carroll is getting out of town before the school and his program get completely taken apart by NCAA penalties?

Could be.

Shortly before the Carroll rumors began surfacing, USC announced that it was punishing itself for apparent NCAA violations involving former basketball player O.J. Mayo (currently with the NBA's . The school agreed to keep itself out of any postseason games -- including both the conference and NCAA tournaments -- among other self-imposed penalties. Its former coach, Tim Floyd, resigned after admitting that he helped steer money to the man who helped USC recruit Mayo.

What does this have to do with Carroll?

Well, in addition to the Mayo scandal, the NCAA has been investigating -- for more than three years now! -- allegations involving former Trojan Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush and his relationship with various marketing agents. In fact, there are some rumors that the school decided to bring the hammer down on the basketball program in the hopes that the NCAA doesn't do major damage to the extremely profitable football operation.

What are the odds that Carroll is seeing the writing on the wall? The NCAA is already preparing to strip recently retired Florida State coaching legend Bobby Bowden of 14 victories because of a cheating scandal? Think Carroll wants to still be on the USC sidelines when the NCAA decides that Reggie Bush may have been ineligible when the school won at least one of its championships? That any victories from that year may be taken away? That there might be enough evidence to suggest an administration-wide disregard for the rules?

Given that likelihood, wouldn't you take a big contract and bolt to the NFL?

Yeah, that's what I thought.

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