With the college football program over which he presided reeling under NCAA-imposed sanctions and, most recently, a stripping of its 2004 BCS national title, the man who ran the show doesn’t have much to say about the events that caused the collapse of one of the greatest teams of the last decade.
With ESPN, Carroll was asked this question: “You’ve talked about how you’re disappointed in what the NCAA has done with USC. How do we get our arms around a problem that has been around for such a long time, and seemingly hasn’t gotten better?”
“Yeah, that’s a big question, and I’m not gonna answer it,” Carroll said in response. “I’m not going into it.”
In fairness, Carroll then offered up some aspirational jargon about the importance of critiquing processes and whatnot. But it appears that Carroll has decided generally that he will avoid saying something that could make him look bad and/or in any way responsible for the sanctions by generally refusing to say anything.
A similar approach apparently is taken at Carroll’s seminars. Farrar’s explains the flaw with almost apologetic tact, but the point resides somewhere in the words chosen more carefully than he’d cut the red, blue, and/or green wires of a ticking bomb. “If there’s one thing I would advise for future seminars,” Farrar writes, “it would be to open the dialogue on what happened at USC from a violations perspective during Carroll’s time there. It was unfortunate that this wasn’t addressed during this presentation when everything was supposed to be so much about learning from one’s past — the ‘hands-off’ nature of that line of inquiry drew back from the professed line of honesty.”
More bluntly, directly, and concisely, it’s hypocritical for Carroll to conduct seminars that encourage attendees to learn from their past while refusing to delve into his own.
Though Carroll faces no sanctions from the NCAA personally, he apparently realizes that his image would potentially suffer if anyone ever concludes that he knew what Reggie Bush (and possibly others) were doing, and that he failed to do anything to stop it.
It’s a shame. Carroll has an opportunity to effect real change by coming clean, especially since it now appears that his program was hardly the only one where guys got something more than room, board, and books. Maybe he will when he’s done coaching for good. Hopefully, by then, the problem will have been solved.