It's no surprise that a scandal occurred under former Oregon head coach Chip Kelly. It's barely even news. What's even less surprising is Kelly's timely exit from Oregon to the ranks of the NFL, where he can basically avoid any kind of punishment. The real surprise is the fallout from the illegal recruiting practices the University of Oregon participated in - which is to say none.
The NCAA released its findings after a 27 month investigation of the University of Oregon. For the past two-plus years Oregon has recruited under a cloud of uncertainty. The NCAA announced the resolution of the case and found that U of O “used a recruiting service provider who became a representative of the university’s athletic interests to assist the school with the recruitment of multiple prospective student athletes.”
The penalties in this case are mostly self-imposed by Oregon. The highlights of which includes a three-year probation period, a ban on the use of recruiting services, a disassociation of the recruiting service provider in question, and a reduction of one scholarship per year for three years.
As for Chip Kelly himself his punishment involves simply an 18 month “show cause” order. Meaning essentially he is banned from the NCAA from working for a year and a half. If an institution needs his services it will have to go before the NCAA and show cause why the need to hire Chip Kelly is greater than the punishment he is serving. This is of course if he wishes to come back to college football within a year an a half. Otherwise after that anyone can do whatever they want. Since this is Chip Kelly’s first year in the NFL no one is predicting he is going, or will want, to return to the college ranks anytime soon. So it’s a moot punishment.
So the Oregon Ducks dodge a bullet. And the program does not look to be affected for the 2013 or for that matter any, season. This ruling will not derail the Duck’s national championship aspirations. In fact, they way is now clear for them to be considered one of the top contenders.
The whole situation is murky and really falls into a dark area within the NCAA rulebook. But the days where coaches can claim ignorance are over. All coaches must have full control of their programs. They are paid millions of dollars to care about the rules. This is just another example of improprieties being swept under the carpet. Ohio State and University of Southern California fans may be crying foul but in Eugene they are breathing a sigh of relief.