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Former USC coach Pete Carroll says NCAA off base in sacking Trojans

RENTON, Wash. — Pete Carroll believes the NCAA had no basis for sanctions on the Southern California football program, and reiterated Tuesday that he didn’t leave to escape the penalties.

The former Trojans coach expects USC’s pending appeal of NCAA sanctions will produce transcripts that show the governing body for college sports had no basis for its “really, really harsh” bowl ban and scholarship cuts.

Carroll answered questions for the first time since the NCAA came down hard on USC, mainly for improper benefits received by former star rusher Reggie Bush during Carroll’s tenure.

The new coach of the Seahawks said he was “responsible” as USC’s head coach, but that there was no way for him to know Bush was being wooed by an off-campus agent.

Carroll said the NCAA’s bowl ban and scholarship cuts are unfair to the current Trojans who had nothing to do with the case.

He called rules allowing players to leave a potentially devastating “fire sale” for the program.

He wants the NCAA and high schools to help in a grass-roots effort to keep outsiders away from college athletes.

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