Completely Ducked: Why Oregon Fans Should Panic Over NCAA Investigation

Phil CaldwellCorrespondent IIIMarch 4, 2011

SEATTLE - OCTOBER 20: Johnathan Stewart #28 of the Oregon Ducks carries the ball during the game against the Washington Huskies at Husky Stadium on October 20, 2007 in Seattle, Washington. The Ducks defeated the Huskies 55-34. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

As the NCAA posse of investigators and auditors gallops out west to check out the growing rumored recruiting scandal in Eugene, programs that once were in the cross-hairs of this storied institution are grimacing. 

They know what follows, and it ain’t pretty! 

Rarely does the NCAA gestapo return to their multi-million dollar offices without incriminating evidence. As we've seen time and again, “due process” is a foreign concept to our pals running the show in Indianapolis.  If they don’t have evidence, they just might suddenly “discover” new evidence—in places not on the radar today. 

Let’s face it: Oregon’s biggest crime was winning. 

When college football programs dwell in the hinderlands of loserville, rarely does the NCAA come a-knockin'. But when those same programs suddenly start to win, and win big, red flags shoot off the black-rimmed glasses and pocket-protectors of the nerds hired to police all of this. 

It can be like Dwight Schrute on steroids.

Guys who get their kicks from busting people for jaywalking, love everything about this system of thuggery and bullies. 

The NCAA routinely uses “unnamed sources” and innuendo as key points of evidence brought to send mighty football programs to their knees.  They seem particularly attracted to felons with long histories of criminal activity, as the key prosecution witness to kangaroo court proceedings. 

When it comes to charges and accusations towards alleged football shenanigans, this is not the US judicial system at work. It's the NCAA; an organization that seems more prone towards the techniques of China or the USSR.  If you're a defendant, may the Force be with you!

Now me being an incredibly humble Husky alum that all Duck fans appreciate like rope burns or cold sores, I actually feel for you guys on this one. 

It's not a fair process, and it almost never turns out just. But I did warn you guys about it two months ago, and you all mocked and scoffed while suggesting I do abnormal physical things to myself.

And yet here we are, hardly a month later, and those dwelling in Duck practice facilities are suddenly sweating bullets on this frigid day in the Northwest. 

As they should, what with the NCAA's track record when it comes to those they investigate.

According to rumors, agents Will Lyles and Baron Flenory have a bit of explaining to do, as do running backs Lache Seastrunk, LaMichael James, and even quarterback Darron Thomas seem to have suspicious ties to these two. 

The prevailing accusation is that there may have been more to the Ducks landing hot recruits, than the new facilities and designer uniforms provided by the head guy at Nike. 

Five star recruit DeAnthony Thomas, for example, who just last month shunned USC for the confines of Duckary, has similar ties to this shady Will Lyles character and his “Complete Scouting Services” of Houston.  Lyles allegedly pocketed $25 thousand, five times the normal fee, according to the just-discovered "state of Oregon expenditure records."

But there's more.  Defensive backs Cliff Harris and Dior Mathis, receiver Tacoi Sumler, and new recruit Anthony Wallace all attended or have ties to Baron Flenory and his New Level Athletics organization.

If recent history is any indication, those named in scandals are the least of an institution’s soon-to-be troubles.  Once the NCAA and their pack of wanna-be FBI nimrod investigators make the scene, rarely do storied institutions escape unscathed. 

No further do the Ducks need to look for what's coming next, than to the recent history of the University of Washington, who got socked with crippling sanctions for providing huge recruiting advantages like fruit baskets and cheap t-shirts to high school studs in the mid 1990’s.

Based on a newspaper report (which is all it took to garner the attention of the trigger-happy NCAA) starting QB Billy Joe Hobert’s loan from private businessman Charles Rice may have been a violation of the rules. 

In the end, Hobert's loan had nothing to do with the penalties eventually levied against the Huskies, which is precisely why Oregon Duck supporters should be alarmed today! 

Instead, it was a series of bogus charges within articles printed after the story broke (in the LATimes by reporters Danny Robbins and Elliot Almand) that ultimately doomed the Huskies. 

Very few of the articles were true.  Nevertheless, the anti-UW rhetoric, supplied by former released disgruntled players with an axes to grind, provided the testimony the NCAA ulitmately treated as sacred scripture in convicting Don James' football program.

USC didn't have much of a chance when the Reggie Bush scandal broke either. The NCAA showed up with what appeared to be a pre-loaded case of assumed guilt, long before the evidence was presented.

Former USC assistant Todd McNair claimed the NCAA's "Committee of Infractions" made a flawed case worse, by violating their own set of rules for procedure and evidence. In the now-infamous Rebuttal of Todd McNair, McNair insisted the NCAA used evidence that was “mutually inconsistent with contradictory findings.”

The point being Duck fans, that before you casually dismiss all these rumors as jealousy by rival fans, you might want to consider how all these probation situations first originated. Credible witnesses and/or actual evidence has never been a prerequisite for what ultimately comes down by the NCAA.

Which is why knees should knock when the NCAA merely shows up to investigate.

Rarely do our buddies at the NCAA's enforcement office leave without some sort of incriminating evidence, either real or imagined.  If they can’t find incriminating evidence against your program, they'll assume they just haven't looked in the right places yet. They'll keep at it until they find something.

Hence if you're a bonafied Duck fan, it would be unwise to celebrate when things seem to fizzle away.  We've seen this process too many times before. 

When the NCAA suddenly appears quiet, that's when you especially need to get concerned. 

It NEVER fizzles away!

For more on this subject, see USC Sanctions: Unjust Penalties Against UW a Decade Ago Might Force NCAA's Hand at


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