The NCAA's committee on infractions has spoken: Because of payments made to a recruiting service run by a guy who steered a prospect toward the Oregon football program, the Ducks have been hit with three years' probation and other penalties, most of which they had already imposed on themselves. Thus concludes a 28-month investigation into activities the NCAA encourages but pretends to police.
Among the penalties: Former coach Chip Kelly was hit with an 18-month show-cause order, which means that if he were to seek employment at an NCAA member school in the next 18 months, he and that school would have to prostrate themselves before the committee on infractions, which would then decide whether to apply that show-cause penalty to the school. Kelly, who's now the Philadelphia Eagles' head coach, must be terrified by this.
Oregon and Kelly did admit, in the NCAA's words, that they "failed to monitor the football program." Oregon had also already proposed a two-year probationary period and a reduction in scholarships. But the NCAA extended that probation by one year and reduced the Ducks' number of evaluation days and official recruiting visits. They've also been banned from using recruiting services and must disassociate themselves from Willie Lyles, the scouting-service provider who provided bogus reports in exchange for what he admitted was his access to and influence with recruits.
It's all a big to-do about nothing. We've said this many times before, but it bears repeating: The NCAA's "amateurism" sham is the system that gives rise to characters like Willie Lyles, and their supposed cheating. The punishments doled out by the committee on infractions are supposed to remind us that the system works, that the bad guys always get their comeuppance. But it will happen again somewhere else, and in the meantime Chip Kelly will be off earning millions to coach in the NFL.
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