Carroll's grilling required a spot on a more serious sports journalism channel, HBO. Andrea Kremer used that segment of Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel to confront Carroll with the truth -- that for such massive violations to happen with his best player, he either (A) knew about Bush's car and house or (B) didn't want to know. When it was over, Carroll was whining to Kremer: "It's easy for you to ask these questions in this manner right now. Matt Leinart was our best player -- he was the Heisman Trophy winner."
So was Bush. In 2005. But that's not a convenient truth for Carroll, so he avoids it. He would rather promote a book that celebrates his "proven system of success ... a coaching philosophy" that included welcoming murderous alum O.J. Simpson to practice and masterminding the Halloween prank of 2005. That was the time Carroll faked an argument with running back LenDale White, causing White to run away from practice and climb onto a nearby roof -- where he dived to his death (White actually threw a dummy wearing his No. 21 jersey off the four-story building).
That's leadership right there. "Creepy Forever."
Carroll defends everything from the team-building nature of that prank -- suicide humor kills 'em every time! -- to his lack of culpability in the Reggie Bush fiasco. When HBO's Kremer asked him if he had ever seen the car Bush received illegally as a sophomore, Carroll said he had but explained it away: "It was a Chevy," he said. True. But it was a tinted, tricked-out ride snazzy enough to be featured on the cover of a car magazine.
To Carroll, it was just a Chevy. "Rationalize Forever."
Source: NCAA infractions committee report on USC expected to come this week.
The Jags can absolutely talk Pete Carroll into a "Look, if you don't trade up for C.J. Spiller right now, we're trading this pick to someone who will" scenario, right? Although part of me wants Carroll to abandon the Spiller chase, trade for Matt Leinart and sign Reggie Bush, just because it would be fun to have that trio back together, only this time, Leinart and Bush would be getting paid OVER the table. (The UCLA fans are giggling right now.)
"Everything went very well," Carroll said. "I think the university did everything they could to put all of the truth and information out there in front of the committee, and I think everyone there felt good about the process. There are still some issues that need to be determined in the next month or so, but I don't think we could have done any better than what we did."
"He's the face of the school, and a lot of students come here because of him," said Amir Haider, a sophomore neuroscience major. "It's hard to imagine school without him. You can't replace a person like that. He's an iconic coach and a big reason why I came here. When I saw him and the team on TV, I wanted to be a part of that."
Former UCLA tailback DeShaun Foster was involved in a similar situation in 2001 and ended up sitting out the Bruins' final three games. UCLA was proactive in cooperating once the NCAA made the school aware of a possible "extra benefits" violation — also involving a player's use of an SUV.
UCLA did not face further punishment from the NCAA, but USC could be viewed differently because the school already is under investigation.
"Regardless of the timeout that UCLA took, Coach Carroll should have taken the high road. Does he realize that he has one of the most popular college football teams in the nation and all of our young, impressionable high school football players will think that it's OK to pile up the score and then dance around like a fool afterward. Did you see him looking around for validation of his decision? He can't even look himself in the eye, but he can at [Stanford Coach Jim] Harbaugh.
"It didn't surprise me at all. As a head coach of an NFL team, I seem to remember him giving the "choke" sign to the kicker of an opposing team after a miss before a national TV audience."