NCAA Investigation Over
Though there are clouds hovering over Eugene that may unleash some rain later on the region, the skies could not be any clearer. For, as of 7:30 am this morning, the Oregon Ducks football program finally received word on the sanctions/punishments that would be placed on them for their misuse of scouting services.
As is detailed in the full report, Oregon’s main penalties levied by the NCAA Committee on Infranctions include:
- Probation from June 26, 2013 to June 25, 2016
- Initial football scholarships reduced from 25 to 24 in 2012-2013 and 2013-2014,
- Total scholarships in 2013-2014, 2014-2015, and 2015-2016 reduced from 85 to 84
- Official paid visits reduced to 37 from 56 for 2012-2013, 2013
- Reduction of permissible football evaluation days from 42 to 36 in fall of 2013, 2014 and 2015
- Reduction of permissible football evaluation days from 168 to 144 in springs of 2014, 2015 and 2016
- Ban from subscribing to recruiting services during the probation period
- 18-month show cause order for Chip Kelly
- One-year show cause for the former assistant director of operations
While there are other penalties such as public reprimand and censure and other minor sanctions that have more to do with using the same recruiting services, the big news on Wednesday morning was that the Ducks will still be bowl eligible.
That’s right, Oregon fans, you can take a nice deep breath, exhale, and realize that your team is destined for greatness.
Here’s what you should takeaway from the penalties announced this morning.
More than a Slap on the Wrist
For months upon months many Oregon fans have believed that the program would only receive a light slap on the wrist for what they did. And while many across the nation have argued that the infractions the Ducks committed deserve more severe penalties and that the sanctions levied against them are just a “slap on the wrist”, they are much more than that.
Oregon has built a powerhouse through exhausting all of its scholarships in the hopes of finding that perfect player that fits its system. Whether a 5-star standout from California or a relatively unheralded recruit from Hawaii, the Ducks have thrived on making every player on their roster an impact player. Losing an initial scholarship for the next two seasons and having the number of scholarship players reduced by one for the next three years will have a small effect on the team.
Another reason why these sanctions are more than a slap on the wrist is the fact that Oregon cannot use recruiting services in these next three years. As was evident with the whole investigation, college football teams use recruiting services to get wind of players across the nation. Especially in a state that doesn’t foster a lot of big name athletes, the loss of recruiting services does hurt the Ducks, especially when that penalty is combined with the reduction of permissible football evaluation days.
Chip Kelly’s penalty would have been much worse had he remained at Oregon. Though he is now in Philadelphia getting set to begin an NFL career, should things go wrong for him at the next level, it will be awfully hard for him to find a coaching position in college football for the next 18 months. Kelly, in response to the penalties, has issued an apology to the University of Oregon and its fans.
In short, these penalties are still serious, especially when you consider Chip Kelly and the program were charged with lack of control.
No Bowl Ban
As mentioned previously, the biggest news this morning was the fact that the Ducks avoided a bowl ban while also having all of their past seasons remain intact. A huge victory for Oregon, this decision by the COI may have signaled a new era of sanctions against programs. For, unlike past penalties against teams like USC and Ohio State, these sanctions were levied against personnel and the program, not the players or current team. They did not strip any accomplishments from Oregon’s past nor prohibited them from achieving further greatness in the years to come, the punishments were levied against those who committed the infractions.
Aside from being bowl eligible in 2013-2014 and beyond, this news lifted a weight off the shoulders of the program and its fans and allowed them to begin focusing on just football once again.
That’s right, Duck fans, the time is over when you have to stop worrying about jumping on ESPN in the morning and seeing your program was hit with a 2-year bowl ban. You can stop stressing out about the future, because it is here.
The Oregon football program is here to stay. These penalties issued this morning will have an impact, but they won’t be enough to stop the Ducks from solidifying themselves as a national powerhouse in college football. Oregon is not a trend, they are not a brief moment of success, they are one of the new standards of college football.
Oregon, in 2013, remains BCS National Championship eligible.