COI member says Oregon would use Lyles to have prospects make calls to coaches while coaches couldn't call. This goes on everywhere. A LOT.— Rob Moseley (@DuckFootball) June 26, 2013
After 27.5 months, the NCAA Committee on Infractions announced sanctions on the Oregon Ducks football team Wednesday morning.
As expected, the penalties levied by the COI for Oregon's payment and use of improper scouting services and the use of an extra coach while recruiting do not include a bowl ban of any sort.
Instead, the Ducks will lose a single scholarship over two seasons, the first of which was imposed by the school last year, and be on probation for three seasons, the first of which was self-imposed last year.
The penalties are at best a slap on the wrist for the Oregon football program, and reaction has been mixed across the country as to whether the punishment fits the crime, in part because the Ducks have averaged only 83 scholarship players of the 85 maximum over the last four seasons.
The penalties enforced are very similar to those proposed by Oregon in the summary disposition process late last year, and the biggest difference appears to be an added year of probation tied to Oregon's "repeat violator" status.
"I will say to them that I've not met an institution that wants to go through the infractions and enforcement process," COI member Greg Sankey said on a teleconference Wednesday. "The committee made it's decision based on the information presented to it, not on other speculation and evaluation."
Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens echoed Sankey at a press conference Wednesday afternoon.
“No one wants to be in this position," Mullens said. "So I don’t think anybody’s happy. We’re pleased to be at the end of the process.”
In addition to the scholarship reduction, former Oregon head coach Chip Kelly received an 18 month show-cause penalty, meaning that any institution that wishes to hire Kelly over the next 18 months must in essence convince the NCAA to allow it without penalty.
Further, the team can only host 37 official visitors as opposed to 50, and cannot use any paid recruiting services for the next three seasons as well – the first time the NCAA has imposed a ban on the use of recruiting services, according to Sankey.
While it may seem to some that imposing a show-cause penalty on a coach that has left for the NFL, is a toothless penalty, Sankey said otherwise.
"I've not met a person that is seeking to have a show-cause order applied to them," Sankey said." I think the committee does find it meaningful even in a circumstance where someone may have left..."
Additionally, Sankey said that it's fair for some to question the impact that a show-cause penalty will have on the coaches and staff members targeted.
"I think that's a fair observation, and one that certainly is understandable to be made," Sankey said.
Both the public report and Sankey made repeated references to the cooperation of the school throughout the investigative process.
"The committee was appreciate of the former head coach and former director of football operations making the effort and participating in the hearing, that was something that was appreciated by the committee," Sankey said.
Today's announcement comes after a process that began shortly after Oregon's loss to the Auburn Tigers in the 2011 BCS National Championship Game, and less than a week before a much-heralded recruiting camp at Nike headquarters in Beaverton.
Mullens said Wednesday afternoon that Oregon will not appeal the penalties.
Update: Chip Kelly has released the following statement (Via Pro Football Talk):
“Now that the NCAA has concluded their investigation and penalized the University of Oregon and its football program, I want to apologize to the University of Oregon, all of its current and former players and their fans,” Kelly said in his statement, via Geoff Mosher of CSNPhilly.com. “I accept my share of responsibility for the actions that led to the penalties. As I have I stated before, the NCAA investigation and subsequent ruling had no impact on my decision to leave Oregon for Philadelphia.
“I have also maintained throughout that I had every intention to cooperate with the NCAA’s investigation, which I did. I do expect the University of Oregon and its football program to continue to thrive at a high level. They are a talented and resilient group of coaches and players and I’m sure they will attempt to put today’s news behind them very quickly and move forward as they prepare for the 2013 season.”
Among the various findings by the NCAA are the following:
- Oregon's use of scouting services was permissible in 2008 and 2009, but not the 2010 season.
- "The facts demonstrate that the recruiting service provider was directly involved in assisting Oregon in the recruitment of (players)."
- "...Recruiting service provider delivered valuable information to the institution that afforded a recruiting advantage"
- "Recruiting service provider gave prospect A cash, cost free lodging and meals during the period from 2008 through 2010." Ed note: Best guess is that "Prospect A" is Lache Seastrunk.
- The Ducks can only host 37 official visitors over the next three seasons, a reduction from the allowed total of 56. The school averaged 41 visitors over the previous four seasons.
- Multiple references are made to the University of Oregon, and specifically Chip Kelly and former director of football operations Josh Gibson's cooperation with the NCAA.