Members of USC's 2004 and '05 teams haven't had a lot to say about the NCAA sanctions that were levied and later upheld against the program, but this last weekend, former coach Pete Carroll decided to break radio silence and give his two cents.
"Just watch the comments of the players," Carroll said in an interview with Mark Willard of 710 ESPN in Los Angeles. "They know who won, who didn't. [Matt] Leinart and Lofa Tatupu and those guys, they all know. The whole thing is so unfortunate."
Yes, USC defeated Oklahoma 55-19 in the Orange Bowl en route to a national title, but the BCS doesn't care. The BCS stripped the Trojans of the 2004 title after the NCAA upheld a ruling that stemmed from major infractions committed by former running back Reggie Bush. The BCS title has been vacated for that year.
The NCAA issued a two-year postseason ban on USC (one year has already been served) and it will be ineligible for the first Pac-12 title game. The Trojans also lost a total of 30 scholarships during the next three years, which means that they can only sign 15 scholarship players per season. Most teams -- unless they're in the SEC -- sign 25.
Carroll voiced his displeasure over the NCAA penalizing players who had nothing to do with the program when the violations were committed.
"[The NCAA has] to do what they do. They figure out how the thing is supposed to work," Carroll said in the interview. "I don't agree with much of any of it. It's unfortunate that kids, years and years after, are punished for what the NCAA is dealing with from years and years before. That's the most unfortunate thing ... kids that were in junior high at the time, or in grade school, are paying the price for it."
Of course, Carroll, now the head coach of the Seattle Seahawks, saw the writing on the wall and high-tailed it out of town before any of his teams faced the repercussions of a scandal that was created under his watch. So, it's pretty hard to empathize with his concern for USC's current players or staff.