Citing the opportunity to become a starter sooner elsewhere, USC quarterback Rocky Hinds said Tuesday that he would transfer.
Hinds, who was a redshirt last season as a freshman, finished spring practice No. 3 on the depth chart behind Heisman Trophy winner Matt Leinart and redshirt sophomore John David Booty. He also was expected to be pushed by incoming freshman Mark Sanchez.
After weeks of pondering, Hinds informed USC coaches of his decision Tuesday and asked for his release.
“The numbers were just not in my favor,” Hinds said in a phone interview. “It was a hard decision. USC was always my dream school.”
Coach Pete Carroll said he had told Hinds last week that the competition to back up Leinart and move up to the starting role in 2006 remained open.
“If he doesn’t think he can beat those guys out, he’s better off going somewhere else,” Carroll said. “I’m disappointed because we invested a lot of time in him, but I think he’s a great kid and he has a bright future.”
If Hinds transfers to an NCAA school, he will have to sit out a season and will have three seasons of eligibility remaining. Nevada Las Vegas has been rumored as his destination, but Hinds said he had not picked a school.
“A lot of schools are in the mix -- it never was just UNLV,” Hinds said. “That was just a school I was looking at. I know they have a great offense there that fits me well.”
Carroll said the Trojans would not bring another quarterback in immediately to take Hinds’ place.
Carroll is expected to ask walk-on quarterback Michael McDonald to remain with the team.
A new five-year extension of the television contract between ABC and the Pacific 10 calls for sister cable network ESPN to televise six games a year, beginning in 2007. ABC, as it has in recent years, will continue to televise 14 Pac-10 games a year.
That announcement was made one day after the conference’s announcement that beginning in 2006, each member school will play all nine other members.
The current 10-year contract between ABC and the Pac-10 pays an average of $16.9 million. The extension, which covers 2007-2011, calls for a moderate increase.
The conference still has to negotiate a new deal on its secondary package, which now belongs to FSN.
Also Tuesday, USC announced its Sept. 3 season opener at Hawaii, to be televised by ESPN2, would start at 4 p.m. PDT.
Times staff writer Larry Stewart contributed to this report.