Oregon Football Scandal: NCAA and Ducks Reportedly Agree Coaches Violated Rules

Mike ChiariFeatured ColumnistApril 16, 2013

The NCAA has been investigating potential violations regarding Oregon football coaches and their recruiting practices, and the University of Oregon has reportedly admitted to at least one infraction.

According to Adam Jude of The Oregonian, the school has agreed that football coaches committed at least one major recruiting violation between 2008 and 2011. Because of that, Oregon has suggested a self-imposed punishment of two years of probation and the reduction of one scholarship in each of the next three seasons. Per Jude:

The review is ongoing until the NCAA Committee on Infractions issues its final report, the (University of Oregon's) statement read. The integrity of the process and our continued full cooperation with the NCAA prohibits us from publicly discussing the specifics of this matter.

While Oregon has admitted to one major violation, it is in disagreement with the NCAA regarding another. According to the report, the NCAA believes that Oregon’s $25,000 payment to talent scout Willie Lyles constitutes a major violation, while the university considers it to be a secondary violation.

The alleged violations, which took place under head coach Chip Kelly who has since left the school to become the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, continue to be investigated and will be addressed by the NCAA's Committee on Infractions at some point this year, according to the report. At that point, it will be determined if Oregon's self-imposed punishment is steep enough.

According to Chip Patterson of CBSSports.com, Kelly released a statement regarding the investigation as well as his involvement in it during his time at Oregon.

I am aware of the recent reports and of the ongoing investigation being conducted by the NCAA and the University of Oregon, Kelly said in a prepared statement. While at Oregon, I know we were fully cooperative with all aspects of the investigation and I will continue to contribute in any way that I can. But until the NCAA rules on the matter, I will have no further comment.

The main sticking point remains the relationship between Lyles and the university. Oregon reportedly agreed that it violated a rule by receiving oral reports on players when only written and video reports were permitted, although it hasn't yet been determined if the school's interaction with Lyles broke any rules beyond that (via Jude):

There is no information, according to the NCAA, in the record that Lyles coerced or directed any prospect to ultimately choose Oregon. That said, Lyles did provide a meaningful recruiting advantage by orally providing background information about prospects to the coaching staff and also by serving as a conduit to facilitate communication with prospective student-athletes.

Regardless of how big of an infraction Oregon's interaction with Lyles was, it was an infraction nonetheless. The only question at this point relates to how severely the Ducks will be punished.


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