Carroll confident USC will avoid major penalties

Updated: May 2, 2006, 8:22 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

LOS ANGELES -- Southern California coach Pete Carroll said emphatically Monday he doesn't think the Trojans will have to forfeit games or lose a national championship.

"With the little bits I have, no. I'm not concerned about that one bit," Carroll told The Associated Press. "I'm more concerned with helping the process and making sure everything comes to the front.

"I'm confident that's not where this is going. The information that I have thus far, I don't think that's going to happen at all."

Carroll's teams went 48-4 during the last four seasons and won national championships in 2003-04. The Trojans were shooting for a third national title last season but lost to Texas 41-38 in the Rose Bowl, snapping a 34-game winning streak.

The program suddenly came under scrutiny beginning with allegations April 23 concerning the living arrangements of Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush's family near San Diego, and other charges that could be deemed as extra benefits.

The Pacific-10 Conference and NCAA are investigating. Should Bush be ruled ineligible, forfeitures are a possibility. And should it be determined he was ineligible in 2004, the national championship USC won that year could be impacted.

"To me, it looks like somebody's out to get Reggie's money, a classic case of people trying to create some kind of opportunity based on another guy's good fortune," Carroll said. "I don't know all the facts. I don't know that there is something wrong here."

Also, redshirt freshman Mark Sanchez, a possible successor to 2004 Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Matt Leinart, was arrested for investigation of sexually assaulting a female student. He was released on $200,000 bail.

"I was shocked," Carroll said. "This is the kid that nobody that knows him or who's been around him would ever think he would be in a position like this. It hit us all very hard. We've just got to wait it out, wait for the information to come out, cooperate in every way we can.

"It's unfortunate that the media hits it so hard at the start. If somebody isn't at fault, it's so hard to repair that. Hopefully, we'll see things take a good turn. I'm counting on that."

Finally, questions arose over the weekend concerning the living arrangement of All-American wide receiver Dwayne Jarrett, who will be a junior in the fall. USC officials are investigating whether an upscale apartment Jarrett shared with Leinart violated NCAA rules.

"There's more stuff forthcoming. The university continues to work to bring this to a resolution," Carroll said. "It's going to be in the next couple days, we'll know more."

The school has notified the Pac-10 of its investigation, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday.

Carroll said he's hopeful Jarrett won't miss any playing time next season.

"I don't know how it's all going to play out. I'm hopeful that's not going to be the case," he said.

Carroll said he is ultimately responsible for everything that goes on in his program.

"I'm not going to make any excuses. I'm not going to point the finger at anyone else. I've got to do a better job," he said. "We've got to continue to get the word out. We're trying to do everything right.

"We're trying to inform and educate better than anybody in the country. I'd like to think we do it better than anybody. We're going to continue to bust our tails to make sure everybody understands. We're trying to do this better than anybody else has ever done it."

The coach also said he has spoken with USC president Steven B. Sample and has his support.

"He knows this program really well," Carroll said. "He understands the philosophy and the care we have for our kids. I know he supports us in all ways to continue to do that."

Carroll said he hasn't felt any negative impact on recruiting.

"Right now, I don't feel it," he said. "We're getting great response wherever we go."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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