Update (12:30 P.M.): John Infante of the Bylaw Blog has weighed in on twitter. Lots of good info there, including:
The heavily redacted "Finding 3" in the Oregon documents relates to gifts provided by Lyles to prospects.— John Infante (@John_Infante) April 16, 2013
Those gifts included clothing, cash, and "free or reduced-cost services, rentals, or purchases of any type."— John Infante (@John_Infante) April 16, 2013
Update (11:30 P.M.): Adam Jude of the Oregonian has some new information in his piece regarding the University's document dump, including this nugget:
...the university has proposed to self-impose a two-year probation for the football program and a reduction of one scholarship for each of the next three seasons.
Jude's story – now with links to the documents – also contains a statement from Oregon, which reads as follows:
"The review is ongoing until the NCAA Committee on Infractions issues its final report," the statement read. "The integrity of the process and our continued full cooperation wit the NCAA prohibits us from publicly discussing the specifics of this matter."
Late tonight, Portland-based KATU published a much-hyped investigative report about the recent summary disposition process undertaken, and eventually rejected, by the NCAA and the University of Oregon in an attempt to settle the Ducks' much-publicized infractions case.
It's important to note at this point, well I'll just let George Schroeder explain.
NCAA docs from last Sept outdated. Oregon's current situation is uncomfortable, & given infractions comittee's unpredictability, uncertain.— George Schroeder (@GeorgeSchroeder) April 16, 2013
Regardless of the timeliness of the documents, they provide a lot of detail as far as the NCAA's arguments are concerned – the written equivalent to "matching names with faces" in regards to specific violations. Here's what you need to know and remember from the KATU report:
1. Oregon is really, really slow at complying with public records laws.
These documents are from September 2012. Summary disposition proceedings ended in December 2012. It's April 16 of the following year. That's a long damn time to be sitting on a stack of papers. Moving on.
2. None of this is binding. Not a single word of rhetoric, not a single agreed upon violation, nada.
Sure, most of what's written in the KATU story and referenced from the NCAA documents was agreed upon by Oregon and the NCAA, and most of it sounds pretty cut and dry. For example:
The university and the NCAA agree that Lyles was working as an agent of the school in 2008-2010 when he had a series of “impermissible telephone and off-campus contacts” with prospective student athletes.
That might seem like an open and shut assertion, both based on what's been known about this saga for a long time, but as I'll get to shortly, much of the more serious allegations are still up in the air. What KATU's story did is provide a clearer picture of what exactly is at issue here, and where the battle lines will be drawn whenever the NCAA gets around to the hearing. As a tangent...
2B: Oregon still isn't guilty of anything, even though it may as well be.
Yeah, they committed multiple "major" violations, the majority of which they agree upon. Yet, anyone who says the Ducks are "guilty" of more that being severely incompetent, as far as monitoring themselves is concerned, is getting ahead of themselves.
Yes, the NCAA and Oregon went through an exhaustive process that amounted to a plea bargain negotiation. Those negotiations failed, and now they are "going to trial." As with a criminal case, the content of failed plea bargain proceedings doesn't amount to jack squat once you get in front of a judge and jury.
I know, I'm engaging in semantics. However, it's fairly likely that not all of the things that were agreed upon in September are still held together now.
3: It's pretty easy to figure out where the sticking point was in the summary disposition process.
When one reads through KATU's report, it's apparent where both sides refused to back down from their anchored positions and what issues will be of the utmost importance when Oregon gets its day in court during the year 2021.
The NCAA and school agree that from 2008-2011 the Ducks paid at least around $35,000 for three improper recruiting services, including $25,000 to Lyles’s company Complete Scouting Services.
While they agree the violations happened, the school and the NCAA disagree about the severity of the charges, according to the report. The school argues the rules violated were obscure and that the violation should be considered “secondary.”
The NCAA argues that taken collectively all three instances show a pattern and should be considered “major violations.”
This is going to be a huge one. This is the "If the glove does/does not fit you must/must not acquit" of the case. If Oregon gets its way, this part of the case will be treated as another bullet point in the ledger of alleged violations. If the NCAA gets theirs, it becomes the lead charge – the felony leading a pack of high-level misdemeanors.
Combine that with the NCAA's assertion that the repeat violator clause may be in play because of a major violation committed in 2004, and the Ducks could have a real problem on their hands.
All in all, what this story does is sharpen the focus and make it clear what the charges against Oregon are. Lots of buzzwords and very serious language, but not a lot of new information. Details on details, but not anything earth-shattering.
Please deposit two panic tokens in the jar on your way out and enjoy your Tako Tuesday.