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Brand New Scandal Hits Pete Carroll's Tainted U$C* Program As The Impotent NCAA Looks On

After getting thoroughly humiliated and scooped by other national news outlets last few years on covering U$C*'s scandals, it looks like the LA Times is now finally trying to wade into the word of reporting. Paul Pringle breaks the news of the latest (alleged) rules violation by Pom Pom Carroll at U$C* (HT BruinJD):

USC football Coach Pete Carroll employed a former NFL tactician last season to help with the team's punting and kicking game, an arrangement that may have violated NCAA rules that prohibit consultants from coaching, The Times has learned.

Carroll's action could widen a continuing investigation by the NCAA, the governing body of major college sports, which has been looking at USC football for more than three years and the school's basketball program for the last year. The probe has been examining specific allegations of improper payments to two players as well as the broader question of whether USC has lost "institutional control" of its athletics department.

The new issue involves the employment of Pete Rodriguez, who has coached for several professional franchises. In an interview with The Times, he acknowledged that he attended USC practices, monitored games and offered Carroll behind-the-scenes advice on matters ranging from the needs of individual players to avoiding penalties during punt returns.

[E]xperts contacted by The Times said the type of assistance that Rodriguez described could constitute a serious violation.

"That's coaching," said J. Brent Clark, a onetime NCAA investigator who practices law in Oklahoma, when told of Rodriguez's statements.

"The rules are designed to level the playing field for all institutions regardless of the size of their budgets. It would make no sense for the rich and powerful to be able to compensate coaches with NFL backgrounds outside the coaching-limitation rules."

Also, another way this kind of situation gave U$C* an unfair advantage over other programs:

Clark said Rodriguez's mere presence at practices could have given USC another potentially unfair advantage -- boosting the school's reputation as a gateway to the NFL, a key selling point in recruiting and retaining top talent.

"It said, 'Hey, look what you get when you come to USC -- you get access to the NFL,' " he said.

Here is my prediction on how those guys will try to weasel their way out of this scandal. More after the jump.

Those guys will try to get away with this specific instance of possible rule violation by zeroing in on this provision:

The bylaws say teams may retain temporary consultants "to provide in-service training for the coaching staff, but no interaction with student-athletes is permitted."

I am going to guess they are going to go on over drive to show that Rodriguez didn't have any "interaction" with "student-athletes." Then again its a national joke to consider any of Petey's players as "student athletes."

The report from the LA Times also had this interesting nuggget:

Andrew Zimbalist, a Smith College professor who specializes in sports economics, said he was "not surprised" that Carroll turned to Rodriguez, given the pressure on big-time football programs to get a leg up on the competition.

"Whenever you impose a rule that says you can't do what you want to do, that the marketplace can't do its magic, somebody finds a way to twist it or get around it," he said. "I'm sure that the infractions committee at the NCAA will look at it."

Well we are not sure what else the NCAA is looking at this point. Apparently they have been "looking" for years and to date we have heard nothing. And no one here is going to be holding their breath. Pom Pom and his renegades will continue to operate whatever way they want because clearly NCAA rules don't apply to them.

Right now the way these stories keep unfolding from the "most scandalous athletic program of this era" the term lack of institutional control applies more appropriately to a hapless, pathetic, impotent NCAA than the rogue program run by Mike Garrett and Chetey Petey.