Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll wants to clear the air and establish that he didn't leave USC as a result of the sanctions with which the Trojans were about to be hit. In fact, it was the exact opposite, he told Gary Klein of the Los Angeles Times.
Carroll received criticism for his seemingly convenient time of departure from USC, but he maintains that he and the school had no idea the NCAA would drop the hammer after its investigation of improper benefits given to Reggie Bush:
"It does bother me because it's not right and it's not accurate," he said of the criticism, later adding, "I didn't feel bad about leaving at all. I didn't feel bad about it because I knew what the truth was."
Asked last week what was inaccurate, and what was the truth, Carroll did not hesitate.
"The truth was, an opportunity came up and it was one I couldn't turn away from," he said. "… The NCAA came back at the university… 'Now we're going to revisit after five years.' I had no knowledge that was coming. We thought maybe it wasn't coming because they didn't have anything to get us with. It wasn't five days, it wasn't five weeks. It was five years."
Carroll added that he never would've left if he knew the NCAA would level such heavy sanctions.
"When I look back now, I would have stayed there to do what we needed to do to resolve the problem," he said.
Yahoo Sports' Charles Robinson questioned the veracity of Carroll's claims by looking at when he actually left the university:
Whatever the motivation of his exit, there's no question that he got out of Los Angeles when the getting was good. USC was slapped with the dreaded "lack of institutional control" tag, and it resulted in the loss of scholarships and a postseason bowl ban in 2010 and 2011.
Between that and the toxic tenure of Lane Kiffin, the Trojans are just now beginning to piece their program back together. The halcyon days of Bush and Matt Leinart feel like a lifetime ago.
Carroll, meanwhile, led the Seahawks to the playoffs in two of his first three seasons in Seattle and won the Super Bowl last February. He signed a two-year contract extension back in April.
USC fans probably want to move on from this altogether. Steve Sarkisian is entering his first season as head coach, and the sanctions expire at the end of the 2014 season. Now is the time to look forward.
Having Carroll open up old wounds is unlikely to go down well in Los Angeles.