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Pete Carroll criticizes USC sanctions

Pete Carroll criticized the NCAA on Wednesday night, saying again that college athletics' governing body "made a terrible error" in punishing USC in the wake of his time as coach.

In his first appearance at the school since 2010, Carroll said the NCAA mishandled the sanctions that came down shortly after he left that year to coach the Seattle Seahawks.

The NCAA penalized USC with a two-year bowl ban and the loss of 30 scholarships over three years after it determined former running back Reggie Bush and basketball player O.J. Mayo had received impermissible benefits. The last of the penalties expire this year.

"We made some mistakes along the way but I don't think it was dealt with properly," Carroll told reporters, according to the Los Angeles Times. "I thought it was dealt with poorly and very irrationally and done with way too much emotion instead of facts."

Carroll led the Trojans to two national championships and seven BCS games from 2001 to 2009, and he has repeatedly said the NCAA treated USC unfairly.

"We just didn't know what was going on," Carroll said Wednesday night. "Had we known, I would like to think we would do the right thing and would have stopped everything and fixed it by doing what we should have done. But unfortunately, because we didn't know, the university gets killed over the deal."

Carroll said people outside the athletic department were to blame for USC's issues and criticized the NCAA for punishing a school for actions taken by "people that have nothing to do with the university."

He also said the NCAA didn't want to listen to USC's side before issuing a decision.

"I just think it was not handled well," Carroll said. "I sat in the meetings. I listened to the people talk. I listened to the venom that they had for our program. They didn't understand a thing about what we were all about. ... They never were here. And they didn't want to hear it. They never even got close to hearing what we're all about. ...

"They tried to make it out like it was something else. They made a terrible error."