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Everybody knows the speed at which the NCAA works on investigations and sanctions can sometimes be beat out by a turtle or a snail. The prolonged process going on with Miami backs that up and if you forgot that Oregon was still undergoing their NCAA process because of the mess going on surrounding Miami, you will be forgiven. But a new report published Monday evening indicates the University of Oregon and the NCAA agree on a number of "major" violations.
Portland, Oregon ABC affiliate KATU cites documents provided through a records request with the university included a draft of a summary disposition, in which the university has reportedly arranged a plea deal of sorts with the NCAA, admitting to at least seven violations related to recruiting and a failure to monitor. This plea deal apparently has fallen through based on a report by Yahoo Sports back in December.
Some of the basic details had been known for a while, but the report confirms a few of the details regarding Oregon's recruiting strategies:
1. Will Lyles had impermissible contact with recruits.
2. Oregon paid for recruiting services not allowed by the NCAA.
3. Oregon coaches and recruiters made a total of 730 impermissible phone calls between 2007 and 2011.
4. Too many coaches were involved with recruiting between 2009 and 2011.
5. Whether or not a failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance has not been answered, and whether or not Chip Kelly has been tied to this question has not been confirmed due to redacted names in the documents.
6. Oregon does, however, admit to a failure to properly monitor recruiting practices.
The latest on the timeline of this process suggests a hearing with the NCAA Committee on Infractions will take place this spring. If that holds true, hopefully that means a resolution, for better or worse, will be issued before the start of the 2013 football season.
The timing of all of this is crucial. The NCAA is not one to rush any decision, except in extreme circumstances, but in the case of Oregon it would be prudent to have a decision confirmed and accepted before the first kickoff. This allows Oregon to go in to their season knowing for sure what their fate will be in terms of postseason scenarios. Oregon will enter the 2013 season as one of the favorites in the Pac 12 once again and figure to compete with Stanford for Pac 12 North bragging rights in the third season of division play. If the Ducks are ruled ineligible for the postseason that could make the Pac 12 North Stanford's division to lose, and opens the door for a program like Washington or Utah to make a sneak run to the conference championship game.
The severity of the charges may be on different scales but it is worth looking at other schools and their decisions during ongoing NCAA investigations. Had Ohio State sat out the postseason in 2011 it is possible the Buckeyes would have been eligible for the postseason in 2012. Ohio State went 12-0 in the regular season but was barred from postseason play due to a one-year postseason ban issued by the NCAA. The Buckeyes would have played for a Big Ten championship and likely would have advanced to play for a BCS title in Urban Meyer's first season in Columbus had the school chosen to sit out of the postseason in 2011.
Miami has voluntarily sat out of each of the past two postseasons, losing out on three postseason games as a result between two bowl games and an ACC Championship berth under Al Golden. At this point the hope is that Miami gets an NCAA sentence equivalent to time served when the sanction process is finally put to rest with the NCAA.
We'll explore all of the Pac-12 scenarios once we know for sure what happens with Oregon.
Chip Kelly, of course, has moved on to the NFL as head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles. If he does become a name tied to the recruiting violations, he would essentially get off scott-free. Such is life in collegiate athletics.