Carroll is almost certainly getting out while the getting is good. USC recently tried sanctioning its own basketball team in a transparent attempt to "plea bargain" the NCAA away from leveling stiff penalties on the cash-cow of football. Not being stupid, Carroll knows there here's no particular reason to think that tactic is going to work, and thus is skipping town ahead of the sheriff.
Check out this long notebook-dump story (and I don't mean that as a perjorative in this case) from Yahoo Sports investigative reporter Dan Wetzl, who along with Josh Peter absolutely busted USC for serial NCAA violations while the rest of the media was busy giving the Trojans a group tongue-bath. Here's an exerpt from the particularly interesting last section:
The Trojans represent a must-get for the NCAA, a case that is so over-the-top, so well-publicized and so blatantly against the most obvious of rules that it can’t allow the Trojans to escape without losing all credibility and dealing with an avalanche of national criticism. Many in college athletics wonder that if the NCAA can’t get USC, what’s the point of the operation?
Part of it is jealousy of the juggernaut Carroll built. Part of it is because of the huge financial numbers, the documents, taped conversations and a tell-all book. Part of it is because Bush hasn’t helped his cause. That includes paying a reported $300,000 to Michael Michaels, the man who owned the rent-free home, in a settlement that included an unusual clause that prohibited Michaels from speaking with the NCAA.
All of this is why the NCAA has been so slow and cautious. Here’s how the system works: The NCAA enforcement staff (the cops) get one chance to present their findings to the infractions committee (the jury). That jury has built a recent reputation for turning a blind eye on even obvious violations, in part because it’s mostly made up of sympathetic athletic directors.
In the Bush case, the enforcement staff patiently has waited for all the possible facts to come out. This includes Bush’s potential under oath testimony in a lawsuit filed by Lake. If the NCAA acted swiftly, it would’ve missed out on speaking with Bush (or getting sworn testimony) and thus presented a weaker case to the jury.