Los Angeles awoke Saturday with the sinking feeling that Pete Carroll's reported departure from USC will be a reality. The first to weigh in was the Los Angeles Times' columnist Bill Plaschke, who refused to give the masses an excuse to complain.
He didn't bury Pete for his decision, since like others who actually paid attention, he knew that Carroll never ruled out a return to the NFL if the right situation presented itself. Plaschke wrote:
Pete Carroll owes USC nothing. He owes this city nothing. He owes you nothing. In nine years, he has more than earned his millions.
The USC Trojans Examiner, Neal Leitereg, published confirmation of the worst fears of the football program's boosters.
Kyle Prater, the school's top wide receiver prospect, has reconsidered his verbal commitment to the school. Instead of flying to Los Angeles to register for spring classes, he is going home to discuss his options with his family.
That follows the news that two offensive mainstays of the program, WR Damien Williams and RB Joe McKnight, are entering the 2010 NFL draft.
While Plaschke chides fans not to ask Carroll why he's going, he does encourage us all to ask, why now. And like others who have commented, the name of the school's athletic director, Mike Garrett bubbles up.
...for the first time in Carroll's tenure here, he openly questioned the USC administration, criticizing them for essentially suspending McKnight because of the Land Rover controversy. He was talking about Athletic Director Mike Garrett, and he didn't care.
Ted Miller at espn.com/losangeles writes: "...with school president Steven Sample retiring in August, the new president might want to hire his own guy to oversee an athletic department in transition."
Miller wonders if a clean slate wouldn't be seen in a positive light by the NCAA investigators who are crawling all over the athletics department.
In other words, Garrett would be the sacrificial lamb to spare the football program the punishment meted out by Garrett himself against the basketball team. And after the exodus of the golden coach, Garrett's stock with boosters might just be at its lowest point.
Earlier this week I wrote about Mike Garrett maintaining his status at the expense of the basketball team. I asked what he knew about the signing of O.J. Mayo and if he walled himself off from knowing too much to be able to deny any culpability.
I think Mike Garrett is hearing those NCAA drumbeats today and Trojan fans will be certain to crank the heat up from now on.
Read Paula's daily columns at Examiner.com