Jan 3, 2013; Glendale, AZ, USA; General view of Oregon Ducks helmets during the 2013 Fiesta Bowl against the Kansas State Wildcats in the 2013 Fiesta Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports

Oregon Ducks Avoid Bowl Ban; Chip Kelly Receives Show-Cause


The Oregon football program will avoid a bowl ban as part of the penalties the NCAA handed on Wednesday. However, former Ducks head coach Chip Kelly is receiving an 18-month show-cause penalty. CBS Sports’ Bruce Feldman broke the news via Twitter on Wednesday morning. The university confirmed shortly thereafter, via its official athletic website.

The NCAA also reduced the program’s scholarship allotment by three, one for each year retroactive to 2012. This is in line with an offer Oregon made previously.

Kelly received far greater punishment than the program itself, which remains a legitimate national championship contender by virtue of remaining bowl eligible.

Kelly’s on-again, off-again flirtations with the NFL, manifesting in his taking the Philadelphia Eagles vacancy was an apparent red flag. Kelly left under similar circumstances to former USC Trojans head coach Pete Carroll. Both won multiple Pac-10/12 Conference championships and appeared in a series of consecutive BCS bowls, but departed amid NCAA investigations.

Carroll did not receive a show-cause penalty as part of the massive sanctions leveled on the USC Trojans, but assistant Todd McNair was. McNair filed a defamation lawsuit against the NCAA.

The NCAA’s investigation into alleged recruiting violations at Oregon lasted over two years and examined a two-year period from 2008 to 2010. The case stemmed from payments made to Texas-based talent scout Willie Lyles. Per the report:

During the period from 2008 through 2010, in the course of developing relationships
with prospective student-athletes, the recruiting service provider had telephone and offcampus contacts with a football prospective student-athlete (“prospect A”). Beginning in
2009, the former assistant director of operations was aware of the recruiting service
provider’s involvement in prospect A’s recruitment and participated in that involvement,
principally via a triangle of telephone communications among the recruiting service
provider, prospect A and the former assistant director of operations. It was common for
the former assistant director of operations to ask the recruiting service provider to have a
prospective student-athlete with whom the recruiting service provider had a relationship,
contact a coach on the football staff. From 2009 through 2010, the recruiting service
provider also had telephone and off-campus contacts with five other football prospective
student-athletes.

Among the players Lyles was connected to was 2010 Heisman Trophy finalist LaMichael James, and current Baylor Bears running back Lache Seastrunk. Because of the misuse of a recruiting service, the program is barred from using other such services.

Getting a pulse on just how the NCAA will react to alleged violations is an inexact science at best. The organization hammered aforementioned USC, but recent decisions on North Carolina and Mississippi State have been relatively lenient given each had assistant coaches directly implicated in violations.

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