From the diaries. -N
This is my attempt to collect all of the available information regarding the scandal, criminality, investigations, embarrassing incidents and other assorted black eyes that have plagued USC since Pete Carroll's tenure began five years ago.
I have endeavored to collect as much information as is publicly available. Unfortunately, many of the news stories about these issues are no longer available online. I will provide links where I find them, and cite to second hand sources to the extent those are reliable.
I am also trying to be as objective as reasonably possible. The facts speak for themselves. I see no need to embellish. If anyone has any information that would help make this entry more accurate and complete, please let me know, and I will edit this accordingly.
- Pete Carroll was hired by USC in 2001.
- On August 23, 2001, the NCAA placed USC's athletic department on probation for two years and cut scholarships because tutors wrote papers for three athletes in the late 1990s. The events leading to the probation were before Carroll's time, but I include this for completeness sake.
- In 2002, the father of USC tailback Justin Fargas invited former USC Heisman Trophy winner, and alleged double-murderer, O. J. Simpson to a team practice (he was found not guilty in his criminal trial but was later found liable in a civil trial). After the practice, Carroll allowed Simpson to come onto the field and meet the players and pose for pictures. Carroll defends himself from criticism by claiming that Simpson wasn't invited.
- On July 19, 2003, USC Sophomore OT Winston Justice pleaded no contest to solicitation of a prostitute in Long Beach on June 24. Winston was put on 3 years probation and fined $300 for the offense.
- On March 3, 2004, Winston Justice was arrested on suspicion of felony assault with a deadly weapon. On June 15, 2004, Justice pleaded no contest to exhibition of a replica firearm. Justice was sentenced to 60 days of electronic monitoring and three years' probation. Justice was also suspended for two semesters by USC's student affairs committee after his arrest.
- In August 2004, USC starting tailback Hershel Dennis was at the center of a police investigation of an alleged sexual assault. According to sources, the incident took place at a party on August 16, and involved a female friend of Dennis. On August 17, Dennis was removed from practice and suspended by Carroll for "disciplinary reasons," including breaking curfew. On December 13, 2004, the LAPD announced it would not press charges.
- In late March 2005, USC starting cornerback Eric Wright was arrested for investigation of sexual assault. Wright was booked on rape charges and bail was set at $100,000 according to the Sheriff's Department. Wright was held out of spring practice, and, in April 2005, the district attorney declined to press charged because of insufficient evidence. Nevertheless, on June 2, 2005, Wright left USC amid possible disciplinary action. On August 25, Wright was suspended by three semesters by USC's student affairs committee, based upon the district attorney's office having found 136 pills of the drug Ecstasy in Wright's room at an apartment he shared with another player.
- In early April 2005, USC tight end Dominique Bird fractured his jaw during an alleged altercation with receiver Steve Smith. Bird, Smith and Carroll reportedly refused to comment on the incident, and no disciplinary action was taken.
- On August 13, 2005, 10 veteran USC players were involved in a hazing incident where they shaved the head of freshman quarterback Mark Sanchez. Also, what started out as a water fight between USC players, escalated into an all-out brawl as it spiraled out of control. Reportedly, there was significant damage to the players dorms as players were thrown through walls.
- On October 31, 2005, USC tailback LenDale White plays a macabre prank by pretending to quit the team and throwing a dummy off a building on Child's Way. Separately, Pete Carroll apologized to Washington State coach Bill Doba for USC players pushing and bumping Doba while trying to get to the locker room during halftime of their game.
- On November 2, 2005, USC linebacker Rey Maualuga was arrested for investigation of misdemeanor battery after punching a man at an off-campus Halloween party (twice, without provocation). A witness at the scene reportedly quoted Maualuga as stating "I own the police." Carroll took no disciplinary action, and Maualuga played the following weekend against Stanford. One USC pundit observed at the time that "discipline is Coach Carroll's number one weakness." On November 22, 2005, the city attorney's office declined to file charges. Maualuga was defended at the court hearing by controversial and well-connected USC alumni attorney Carmen "Nooch" Trutanich, who has a long history with USC and previously represented both Wright and Dennis.
- On December 21, 2005, USC starting quarterback Matt Leinart had his eligibility temporarily revoked after appearing in a promotional segment on ESPN earlier that month, a violation of an NCAA rule. Leinart was reinstated shortly thereafter. One observer claims the NCAA was just concerned about money.
- On January 1, 2006, reporters from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and CBS Sportline reportedly told the USC football team about potential recruiting violations stemming from visits by USC recruits to Papadakis Taverna, a Greek restaurant owned by former USC linebacker John Papadakis.
- On January 21, 2006, USC quarterback Matt Leinart was cited by the Pac-10 for working out with his own coach using school facilities. According to the NCAA, a student athlete cannot utilize the school's facilities to work out with a coach, unless the coach is affiliated with the university.
- On April 21, 2006, the family of USC running back Reggie Bush was implicated by numerous separate media reports as having lived in a house purchased by a San Diego-area man with ties to a sports agent and a tribal casino. Both the Pac-10 and the NCAA have launched an investigation into potential NCAA violations in connnection with this matter, which is pending. More recent reports in this fast evolving story are here, here, and here. Developing.
- On April 26, 2006, USC quarterback Mark Sanchez was arrested for investigation of sexually assaulting a female student earlier that same day. Sanchez was released upon posting $200,000 bail, and has been ordered to appear in court on May 17, 2006. Sanchez was also placed on "interim suspension" by USC while the case is pending. On June 2, 2006, the LA District Attorney announced that it would not be bring charges against Sanchez due to insufficient evidence.
- On April 30, 2006, it was reported that USC compliance officials were investigating whether an NCAA rule was violated because receiver Dwayne Jarrett failed to pay approximately $10,000 for his half of the rent for an upscale apartment he shared with former quarterback Matt Leinart. USC claims that no rules were violated, though it has been reported that Jarret may have to sit out a portion of next season. Developing.