Video: Did Saban’s Draft Disbelief Reach Carroll?

One of the surprises of the NFL Draft’s first round Thursday night was the Seahawks selecting Alabama offensive lineman James Carpenter with its 25th overall selection.

When NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced the pick, the NFL Network splashed the candid - and disbelieving - reax of Alabama coach Nick Saban to Seattle’s choice. As Goodell revealed the pick, a clearly flummoxed Saban mouthed James Carpenter’s name and later shook his head slightly. (Not that the coach was complaining.)

A few minutes after the Carpenter selection, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll punctuated his explanation of the Carpenter choice to reporter Doug Farrar:

“Whether somebody else saw it that way, we don’t care.”

Carroll wasn’t asked about Saban’s reaction and his unsolicited remark most likely was unrelated to the Alabama coach.

But it is worth noting that Carroll would say that without any obvious prompting from reporters.

In subsequent comments to the media, Saban was highly complimentary of Carpenter and the Seahawks, though also noting of the selection to Colin Cowherd of ESPN radio:

“I know it caught the media by surprise.”

Wait, so the almost completely player agent-driven, abject guesswork that is ESPN-manufactured NFL Draft ‘analysis’ completely whiffed on a draft selection?

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Ducks Got Trojan Defection From Carroll Ejection?

On Jan. 27, 2010, Lache Seastrunk, the high profile Oregon running back who Will Lyles reportedly “mentored” during Seastrunk’s recruitment, verbally committed to the Ducks. Seastrunk made it official a week later, signing with the school to play football.

Pete Carroll and Will Lyles at USC

Six weeks later Lyles was sent a check for $25,000 by the state of Oregon after invoicing the Univ. of Oregon for providing the Ducks football program with recruiting videos from 22 states. Oregon football coach Chip Kelly has yet to confirm if he or a member of his staff ever received the videos.

Those facts have the NCAA wondering if Oregon paid Lyles for services that were never rendered. If that indeed was the case, then the NCAA might also examine the possibility that Lyles, who is well-known in college coaching circles as a street agent who pushes recruits to certain schools, had undue influence over Seastrunk during his recruitment.

Will Lyles and Lache Seastrunk

Though if you believe multiple reports from main media sources and comments from Seastrunk himself, the former Texas high school star may have actually committed to Oregon Pac-10 rival USC instead had then-coach Pete Carroll not left for the Seattle Seahawks less than a month before signing day.

On Feb. 1, 2010, John Hunt of the PORTLAND OREGONIAN wrote:

The comparison most often made is to former USC running back Reggie Bush, and Seastrunk was set to follow in Bush’s footsteps until coach Pete Carroll left for the Seattle Seahawks.

On Jan. 27, 2010, Kristian Dyer of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED wrote:

Considered one of the nation’s top running back recruits, Seastrunk was originally considered a USC lock. But the departure of former Trojans head coach Pete Carroll led Seastrunk to re-consider his options. The source said Seastrunk settled on Oregon in early January, around the time he played in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

From the June 2009 video below from Kevin Carden of Scout’s, it isn’t hard to understand why main media reporters and recruiting experts thought Seastrunk a lock for USC.

During the annual “Rising Stars Camp” for high school football prospects held at USC, an off-camera Pete Carroll can be heard encouraging the players during drills. Also in the same proximity to Carroll and mostly off-camera is the same Will Lyles who “mentored” Lache Seastrunk.

How do we know that? Read more…

Video of Lendale White on Pete Carroll: “F— Him” has video of an obviously inebriated LenDale White as he left Voyeur nightclub in Hollywood last weekend.

LenDale White Pete Carroll

White, who was with former USC teammate Dominique Byrd (off-camera), apparently hasn’t gotten over being cut by his former college coach Pete Carroll when White was briefly with the Seattle Seahawks last season. After a somewhat unintelligible question by the TMZ cameraman, White said: Read more…

Book: Carroll Knew Who Players ‘Hung Out With’?

Pete Carroll’s new $29.95 book Win Forever is out and is currently racing up the Amazon sales charts, checking in today at #442 on the list.

Pete Carroll Lifts John Wooden Pyramid Of Success

(Carroll escaped NCAA, but could he evade copyright violations?)

In a review of the book, Marcia C. Smith of the ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER spotlights this passage on pages 128-129:

 ”(Carroll was able to) glean a wealth of information by paying close attention to the actions, mannerisms, and traits of our players. By taking note of the clothes they wear, the hairstyles they choose, their personal interests, and the people they choose to hang out with, we get mountains of information … to create a profile that would accurately direct our efforts to teach each player successfully.”

This from a coach who claimed to know absolutely nothing about the off-field activities of the one of the greatest college football players of all-time, Reggie Bush. (”I didn’t know.“) And the same guy who bolted for the NFL mere months before USC was hit with the worst NCAA sanctions since the SMU death penalty.

At least the previous passage was an original. Can’t say the same for some of the other coaching techniques Carroll detailed in the book. Read more…

NCAA Rivals Swipe Reveals Agenda Against USC?

I was skeptical when I heard Pete Carroll say this immediately after the USC football program was saddled with the harshest NCAA sanctions since the SMU Dealth Penalty:

“The agenda of the NCAA infractions committee took them beyond the facts, and the facts don’t match the sanctions.”

That comment was before USC’s Rivals website, which is owned by Yahoo, published previously unreleased NCAA documents that showed significant inaccuracies in the NCAA’s investigation of the link between the USC football program and sports marketing agents who provided Reggie Bush with improper benefits. (That link is the central reason cited by the NCAA for applying such harsh sanctions on the school’s football program.)

That USC Rivals report though only showed a general incompetence by the NCAA in the efficacy of its investigation of USC. It didn’t give any reason to believe Carroll’s “agenda” claim.

But the NCAA’s almost immediate response to the USC Rivals report, may indeed have confirmed Carroll’s accusation.

Read more…

Sources: Percy Harvin Part Of NCAA’s USC Report

More details about the NCAA’s investigation of USC are leaking out this week after USC Rivals site reported late last night on previously unreleased NCAA investigative documents.

Reggie Bush and Percy Harvin

Many of those documents, which include interview transcripts of USC assistant football coach Todd McNair, are littered with errors that can’t help but call the NCAA’s ultimate findings into question.

McNair’s alleged knowledge of Reggie Bush taking improper benefits from sports marketing agent Lloyd Lake is the heart of the NCAA’s case against USC. It was that alleged proof that led the NCAA to drop its harshest penalties on a football program since the SMU Death Penalty sanction.

Early this morning I posted about the NCAA’s errors in interviewing McNair and Lake. Errors that led to a lack of due process and prevented the establishment of indisputable proof that McNair knew what Lake was doing with Bush.

The most serious of those mistakes were during the investigation of a Jan. 2006 phone call in which Lake called McNair. Despite those discrepancies, the NCAA cited that call as perhaps its most prominent evidence in its case against USC.

The NCAA also attempted to point to calls McNair made to Lake in March 2005 as evidence that he knew what Bush was up to with Lake.

The circumstances, per NCAA investigative documents and

Bush was to host a recruit after the Oct. 29, 2005 USC-Washington State game considered the nation’s the top high school prospect.

McNair made repeated attempts to contact Reggie Bush in regards to the top recruit’s official visit. But Bush, on a post-game outing with family and friends, including Lake and Michaels, left the recruit waiting in his hotel room while they ate dinner. The recruit would later verify that timeline.

Among the numerous calls McNair placed to Bush and the recruit that night, three were to a 619 area code that was not Bush’s number. That number, cited from McNair’s USC phone records, belonged to Lake.

The NCAA assistant director of enforcement, Richard Johanningmeier immediately questioned McNair’s credibility when he denied knowing Lake or having any recollection of whose phone number he’d called that night.

“So as you can see from our standpoint, we’re having a lot of problems with your credibility and I have to tell you that there’s a good possibility that, uh, the NCAA could allege a, uh, ethical conduct charge of providing us false, misleading information in the fact that you denied that you know him, we have the telephone calls and we have a photograph with you with people that you say that you don’t know.”

The phone calls and photo were cited as proof despite McNair’s explanation that the three one-minute calls were to a number Bush had given him earlier when Bush’s cellphone wasn’t working. Lake, in his interview, didn’t recall the phone calls.

The photo, which USC was never allowed to see in its original format, had been altered, according to an expert in the university’s response to the NCAA’s allegations. McNair and his easily recognized actor-friend had posed for photos frequently according to his testimony.

Despite pages of documentation covering the Oct. 29 calls, the photo and statements of McNair’s “lack of credibility” the June 10 Infractions Report did not cite this as evidence that the assistant football coach must have had knowledge of the illegal benefits.

So thanks in part to trio of :60 calls McNair made to Lake, that Lake didn’t recall receiving, the NCAA surmised that McNair knew that Lake was partly responsible for giving Bush $300,000 in improper benefits. (The evidence involved in that part of the investigation was so dubious that the NCAA’s own Committee On Infractions threw it out.)

But the question remains: Why was McNair calling Lake that night in a seemingly desperate attempt to reach Bush? Read more…

Document Drop: NCAA Botched USC Investigation

After its football program was buried thanks to four years of damning media reports of impropriety perpetrated by Reggie Bush, USC is finally fighting back against the NCAA via its own media leaks.

Pete Carroll

(On second thought … he actually has a point)

Late Thursday Dan Weber and Bryan Fischer of USC Rivals site published a report attributed to unreleased NCAA investigative documents that indicates the NCAA had very little, if any indisputable proof that a USC representative had direct knowledge of Bush receiving improper benefits while at the school. (The NCAA investigative documents would normally be accessible to the media but as the NCAA and USC are private institutions, respective Freedom of Information Acts are not applicable.)

Those newly-leaked NCAA investigative documents, which were part of the “workbook” used by the NCAA’s Committee On Infractions to prove its case against USC, show the NCAA made crucial errors in attempting to pin down a direct connection between USC assistant football coach Todd McNair and sports marketing agent Lloyd Lake. Lake was one of the men who provided Bush with up to $300,000 worth of improper benefits.

McNair’s alleged direct knowledge of Bush’s improper benefits is the central piece of evidence cited by the NCAA as justification for the harsh penalties doled out to the USC football program.

After reading the entire NCAA infractions report and the lengthy report citing confirmed NCAA investigative documents, the basis for those penalties can be traced to two key situations. Read more…

SC Counselor: Cheating, Breaking Rules ‘Different’

A member of the USC Board of Counselors, which the official USC sports website describes as, “the main advisory board for the Athletic Department,” made some interesting recent comments to the ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER about the NCAA sanctions brought against the school.

Mark Larson USC Board of Counselors Member

USC Counselor Mark Larson said of sanctions:

“There’s a difference between cheating and breaking the rules. This was breaking the rules. It’s ludicrous to say USC was cheating.

“It’s comical that everyone cares about what happens at USC. If this were any other Pac-10 school, no one would care this much.

“The people who are boosters and really involved in the program are of the same mindset I am. Face it, most people in the Pac-10 would take the nine years we had in exchange for what happened (Thursday).”

Larson’s comments echo what we heard from USC Athletic Director Mike Garrett last week. Read more…

The Big Loser In USC Appeal? Trojans Themselves

Case you missed Pete Carroll’s canned, two-minute video reaction last week to (allegedly) unknowingly plowing USC’s football program into an NCAA-cast buzzsaw, he pledged to assist the university in an appeal to get the lifesucking sanctions reduced.

Mike Garrett and Reggie Bush Heisman Trophies

(O.J. Wants His Notoriety Back!)

Also promoting an appeal was USC Athletic Director Mike Garrett and Reggie Bush.

Most legal experts familiar with the NCAA appeal process have reportedly indicated that an appeal of such magnitude, especially in lieu of USC’s defensive public reaction to the penalties and lack of cooperation during the NCAA’s four-year investigation, would be a largely futile effort in the end.

Pete Carroll Book Signing In Huntington Beach

(Forever? Yes. Win? No.)

So why then are Carroll, Garrett and Bush pushing so hard for an appeal? Read more…

Carroll Signing New Book In The OC But Not LA?

Before the NCAA sanctioned Pete Carroll’s former USC football program with heavy penalties yesterday, Carroll had already planned to make high profile public appearances in Los Angeles and Orange County in late June and July.

Pete Carroll Book Signing In Huntington Beach

In two weeks, Carroll is launching something called the “Win Forever Academy.” From the academy’s website:

Providing coaches, athletes and sports fans with the ultimate competitive experience, the Win Forever Academy will open in June, 2010 at the Home Depot Center and LA Live in Los Angeles, California.

Win Forever is a proven system of success for those who compete to maximize their potential in sports, entertainment, philanthropy, business, and life.

Pete Carroll Launching Win Forever Academy In Los Angeles In June

A coaching philosophy inspired by former University of Southern California and current Seattle Seahawks head football coach Pete Carroll, Win Forever is the “New Generation of Coaching for the Next Generation of Athlete.” ™

The Win Forever Academy will provide the ultimate competitive experience through elite camps, coaching clinics and training for youth, high school and professional athletes while offering a competitive philosophy to coaches of all sports and professions.

When you figure out exactly what the means, get back to me.

In a few weeks, Carroll will also have an opportunity to glad-hand with USC fans at a signing for his new book Win Forever. Read more…