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Oregon Faces Uncertainty, Minor Consequences

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Whether Chip Kelly knew of oncoming NCAA penalties, or whether that influenced his decision to leave Oregon for the NFL, the latest recruiting snafu won't amount to much in Eugene. Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images.
Whether Chip Kelly knew of oncoming NCAA penalties, or whether that influenced his decision to leave Oregon for the NFL, the latest recruiting snafu won't amount to much in Eugene. Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images.

Chip Kelly = Pete Carroll?

Folks will be quick to pounce on Kelly for “pulling a Pete Carroll,” but in reality, do we really know that these situations play into coach’s decisions to move on?  

As is well-documented, Carroll jumped off the USC ship after Reggie Bush was put under heavy scrutiny for accepting improper benefits, among other things (he was eventually stripped of his Heisman).  

The argument is there: coach takes off and leaves the paperwork cleanup to administration, cooperating wherever needed. Coach doesn’t have to deal with media, penalty or recruitment loss. After a winning season or two in the NFL, people forget about what coach did in college ball. It sort of makes sense, right?  

But I wouldn’t lump Kelly in the Carroll camp, not just yet. According to the NCAA/Oregon agreement on violations, none of it had purpose. As in, the violations were from negligence and lack of control, not deceiving or cheating.  

I think we can assume Oregon isn’t going to lose trophies over this one.

How do recent NCAA investigations affect this case?

Auburn, Tennessee, Ohio State — schools that have committed major infractions have set a precedent: college football can get dirty, and the NCAA’s grip tightens with every piece of memorabilia sold for tattoos.  

And Oregon will feel the hammer, too. No, they didn’t knowingly gain illegal advantage, and their punishment will likely not be significantly severe, but the fact that the NCAA is even probing around Eugene for something that happened a few years ago tells us they’re committed to setting more examples. One misstep and you’re under investigation, that’s the deal. There will be consequences.

Will this change the Pac-12 landscape?

According to the documents retrieved by Portland’s KATU, Oregon and the NCAA did not come to agreement regarding which infractions were considered “minor” and which were considered “major.” Therefore, punishment is still up in the air.  

The university has proposed a self-imposed two-year probation and a loss of one scholarship per year for three years.  

But let’s be real here: For a power program, that amounts to almost nothing.  

Sure, some poor recruit will get pushed away because the school fell one scholarship short, but who cares? Oregon is young and set for big bowls for the next few years anyway. They just have to be on their toes while recruiting, as probation allows the NCAA to peer into everything a school does. If they’re careful, the Ducks should have no problem.  

Don’t expect this to change how the team performs. Oregon will challenge the conference crown as long as Marcus Mariota is around. Fluff-ball NCAA penalties aren’t going to change a thing.