Ducks Admit To One 'Major' Violation In NCAA Probe
By John Baker
Good timing, Chip Kelly.
In documents released to The Oregonian on Monday, the University of Oregon has agreed with the NCAA that the football program committed at least one 'major' violation during its recruiting practices from 2008 to 2011.
Because of that, the University of Oregon has proposed imposing a two-year probation for the football program and will take away one scholarship each year for the next three seasons. Time will tell whether the NCAA agrees with those penalties.
The Oregonian made the public records request sometime in December and Monday got its late Christmas gift, a 515-page document which delved deeply into general recruiting practices, the Willie Lyles recruiting and payment issues, and how Oregon handled things. Lyles was tied heavily to former Oregon running back Lache Seastrunk, who now appears to be a breakout star at Baylor.
Having been denied a resolution through summary disposition with the NCAA last year, Oregon's next step will be to appear before the NCAA Committee on Infractions later this year where the final ruling on the recruiting violations and penalties will be levied. Oregon and the NCAA could not come to a meeting of the minds last year about the violations and what role Lyles played in it.
Lyles has been around the Ducks' football side since 2008, but he was a minor recruiting partner until two years ago. Owner of Complete Scouting Services, Lyles apparently put together a hurried recruiting package that included partial information, players who were already graduated and other oddities. All at a cost of $25,000, which the NCAA says wasn't its primary concern.
"Rather, the violations results from the receipt of the oral reports and the fact that CSS did not disseminate the quarterly reports as required by legislation," the report said.
Who or what Lyles was to the Oregon program is still in dispute, however the NCAA said that there was no definitive information that Lyles directed or influenced kids to go to Oregon.
Fortunately, the NCAA did not find a "lack of institutional control" or "unethical behavior" within the program, two of the phrases that can often bring much larger penalties from the NCAA.
While Oregon's proposed self-imposed penalties would seem somewhat lightweight — three scholarships over three years and probation — the likelihood is that Oregon will see the penalties stiffened when it appears before the NCAA. Still, even if they lost three scholarships a year for three years, the nine bodies they don't get won't be enough to topple Oregon from the ranks of the top-10.
The Ducks have done a good job of stockpiling talent and have earned a reputation for playing youngsters. That, combined with an emerging national brand through the myriad uniform combinations Oregon is able to deliver and the flashy, wide-open style of play, and the sustained success of the last five years, will continue to sparkle in the eyes of most 18- or 19-year-olds.
The component of any penalty is loss of bowl eligibility and loss of league championship eligibility. Since Oregon's infractions center around recruiting, it is likely that the penalties eventually meted out, not matter how stringent, will fall in that arena as well. Fortunately, Oregon is well-suited to weather that kind of storm over the course of two or three years.