The Oregon Ducks have been given 3 years probation, and lost one scholarship as punishment for recruiting violations committed by the team. Retaining post season eligibility has to be a silver lining for the team. The violations occurred under former coach Chip Kelly, who has since departed for the Philadelphia Eagles.
Under investigation since 2010, the Oregon Ducks have finally learned their punishment. Stemming from a payment of $25,000 to Willie Lyles and his recruiting service located in Houston, the NCAA Infractions Committee began to examine the school’s recruiting practices.
Findings by the Infractions Committee include Lyles providing cash and free housing to a prospective recruit to the school. He also was found to be engaging in calls and off-campus contact with prospects as well as their coaches and families. They also found that the football program itself condoned staff members engaging in recruiting activity in excess of the coaching limits in place.
The NCAA noted that now departed coach Chip Kelly had no idea that the recruiting violations were taking place right under his nose, but that being the coach of a team requires that he should have known what was going on.
On top of the three years probation and loss of scholarship for their recruiting violations, other recruiting sanctions have also been put in place as part of the Oregon Ducks punishment. The number of paid recruiting visits the team is allowed has been reduced from 56 to 37, shortened the amount of prospect evaluation days, and disallowed the university from using a recruiting service during the probation.
This is the second time that Oregon has been put on probation for recruiting violations in the past decade. The last instance occurred in 2004 when an assistant coach improperly recruited a junior college prospect. They were put on two years probation for that violation, and the assistant was suspended for one week and prevented from helping in certain recruiting processes.
Chip Kelly received an 18 month show cause penalty for his role in Oregon’s recruiting violations. This means that he would have to appear before the Infractions Committee along with the school he would be working for, determining whether or not the school would face show cause punishments for hiring him. This appears unlikely due to the fact that Kelly is now a head coach for the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles, but with the temperament of the Eagles’ fan base it is at least possible.
Oregon has appeared in BCS bowl games the past 4 seasons under Chip Kelly, including a loss in the national title game in 2011. They defeated Kansas State in the Fiesta Bowl last season to finish at 12-1.
One of the most popular collegiate football teams, largely thanks to their fast play and zany uniforms, the Oregon Ducks have to be thankful that they retained bowl eligibility despite being put on three years probation for their recruiting violations.
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Senior Sports Editor
The Guardian Express