Pete Carroll has some strong thoughts on the current state of the NCAA and believes the organization's response to the tragic events that unfolded at Penn State was terrible.
The Seattle Seahawks head coach commented on the NCAA hen addressing the media over the weekend in Indianapolis, site of the NFL Scouting Combine. Carroll is the former USC head coach who led the Trojans to a Rose Bowl victory over Penn State in 2009. Two years later, as the NCAA was issuing sanctions against the USC program in an investigation in to the Reggie Bush situation, he accepted an offer to return to the NFL with Seattle. Carroll was asked a number of questions at the combine but he perked up when asked to discuss the latest news regarding the NCAA's investigation in to the University of Miami.
"I really think it's time for this to be opened up and examined and understood how the NCAA has operated," Carroll said, according to a story by Bruce Feldman of CBSSports.com. Last week the NCAA addressed improper procedures taken by the enforcement staff in the organization's investigation involving Miami. The NCAA also submitted to Miami a notice of allegations, which the school is preparing to respond to after a thorough response is prepared. The blunder comes as just the latest point of criticism for the NCAA, including the organization's handling of Penn State in the fallout of the Jerry Sandusky scandal.
"It's just not right, and it's not OK for an NCAA to take down institutions of higher learning," Carroll said. "That's not how this should go. That should not be the target. There should be other ways to go about it. To do what they've done to Penn State and to do what they've done to other schools and what they've been doing to Miami after all of that mess with the NCAA's investigation of its own investigation and it coming to light how the NCAA staff has operated, it begs for deeper investigation and a big-time investigation."
Carroll's own experience with the NCAA at USC fueled his opinions of course. USC was placed on two-year probation and a reduction in scholarships. The NCAA's investigation of USC reported former Trojans assistant coach Todd McNair had been aware of Reggie Bush's improper benefits. McNair is suing the NCAA for defamation of character in a case the NCAA is hoping to be able to protect evidence from the investigation in order to protect the organization's maligned enforcement process. Bush had his Heisman Trophy vacated and USC was forced to vacate a national championship as part of the sanctions.
"I think our case was a great illustration of that," said Carroll, "as is what is happening down in Miami. And the NCAA's rush to judgment that happened over at Penn State may have been as big a travesty as any of them. Not because of the incident itself but because of the way the NCAA handled it. Due process? The process with Penn State was terrible.
Carroll also has a personal connection to the current Miami situation. His son, Brennan, is an assistant coach for former Penn State player-turned head coach Al Golden. Miami has voluntarily sat out the postseason each of the past two seasons, accounting for three lost postseason opportunities between two bowl trips and an ACC Championship Game appearance. With the NCAA admitting to mistakes made in their investigation of the school, Miami's president has fired back sternly in response to the notice of allegations, which reportedly includes a charge of "lack of institutional control."
We live in a world where many Penn State, Ohio State, Miami and USC fans are all in the same boat when it comes to views on the state of the NCAA. Just let that sink in for a moment.
"It's just so out of whack," added Carroll. "It's so obvious that it is. It's just a matter of, will somebody pursue it and go after it? This has been an institution that has operated under some level of respectable protection for so many years. That's not OK any more. They have to do something about it."
The NCAA's Executive Committee issued a statement declaring unanimous support for NCAA President Mark Emmert over the weekend. Until there is a break in that uniformity, perhaps nothing will change in the way the NCAA currently operates.
Helmet sticker to Bruce Feldman of CBSSports.com for the quotes.