The NCAA already has imposed sanctions on USC in light of the Reggie Bush situation. Bush, a former Heisman Trophy-winning running back at USC, received thousands of dollars in illegal cash and other benefits by would-be sports marketers.
The NCAA penalized USC by disallowing the school to participate in bowl games for the next two years and taking away 30 scholarships.
USC is appealing the sanctions, in hopes of having both penalties cut in half. Carroll has even publicly denounced the punishments placed on his former employers, including appearing in a YouTube video shortly after the penalties were announced.
But according to the Los Angeles Times, the most recent accusation against the Carroll and USC is the former coach’s under-the-radar hiring of Pete Rodriguez in 2008. Rodriguez is a former NFL special teams guru, and his hiring – which skirted NCAA rules — certainly won’t help the NCAA lighten the load on its punishment.
"That's going to hurt USC on its appeal," Michael Buckner, a Florida attorney and Trojan alumnus specialzing in sports law, told the Times. "There are major rule violations found against not only his student-athletes but against his coaching staff and a decision he made."
The NCAA found that Carroll’s decision to hire Rodriguez gave USC a “more than a limited competitive advantage” over other schools. Instead of being listed on the coaching roster, a move that would have put USC over the maximum amount of coaches, Rodriguez served as a “consultant” for the Trojan kicking squad during the entire 2008 regular season.
The entire situation brings up a sensitive issue in college sports, specifically football. How much power is the head coach supposed to have?
Vermont Law School professor Michael McCann concludes that Carroll may or may not have known that he was doing anything wrong, but the university — which assuredly signed off on all of Carroll’s actions – was reluctant to step on the two-time national champion head coach’s toes.
"The NCAA will say that Pete Carroll and others connected to him were making wrong choices, and the institution should have been uncovering it," McCann told the Times. "It was probably hard for a compliance officer to confront Pete Carroll … but that's the way it is. Schools have to do more to not let the coach be so powerful."
USC is beginning to do just that, in an effort to show the NCAA that it doesn’t deserve such a harsh punishment.
ESPN.com reports that every USC football player must meet with school compliance officials by the end of next week.
There are multiple notices posted in various locations around Heritage Hall, the school’s athletics headquarters. The notice reminds players to bring current copies of their housing lease, car-related information and academic and employment information with them to the meeting.
The meetings are split up among different positions on the team and will continue until July 22.