Cumberland Times-News

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April 16, 2013

Oregon admitted major violations, proposed 2-year penalty

PORTLAND, Ore. — The University of Oregon has acknowledged major NCAA violations in connection with football recruiting and proposed a self-imposed two-year probation with the loss of one scholarship in each of the next three years, according to documents released by the school.

The revelations were made in a summary disposition report included in the documents released Monday night. The contents were first reported by KATU television in Portland.

Oregon and the NCAA have failed to come to an agreement on the matter and the case is expected to go before the infractions committee at some point this year.

The NCAA began looking into possible violations following reports about payments Oregon made to recruiting services, including a $25,000 payment to Willie Lyles and Houston-based Complete Scouting Services in 2010. Lyles had a connection with an Oregon recruit.

The NCAA will not comment on the ongoing investigations.

Oregon’s athletic department issued a statement that said: “The review is ongoing until the NCAA Committee on Infractions issues its final report.  The integrity of the process and our continued full cooperation with the NCAA prohibits us from publicly discussing the specifics of this matter.”

The university released 515 pages of documents on Monday night in response to public records requests. The documents were heavily redacted and included several drafts of the summary disposition report.  

The report included details of Oregon’s relationship with Lyles. Following allegations of possible violations in 2011, Oregon released information that Lyles had produced but it was largely outdated.

“There were underlying major violations coupled with failure to monitor violations involving the head coach (2009 through 2011) and the athletics department (2008-2011),” the report said. “While the violations were not intentional in nature, coaches and administrators of a sports program at an NCAA member institution have an obligation to ensure that the activities being engaged in comply with NCAA legislation.”

However, the summary disposition also noted no “lack of institutional control,” typically one of the most severe charges the NCAA can bring after an investigation of rules violations.  

“There is no finding of lack of institutional control and no findings of unethical conduct,” the report said. “None of the underlying violations were intentional in nature.”

Chip Kelly was head coach at Oregon for the past four seasons, leading the Ducks to a 46-7 record with appearances in four straight BCS bowl games — including a bid for the national championship against Auburn in 2011. He left Oregon to become head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles earlier this year.

“I am aware of the recent reports and of the ongoing investigation being conducted by the NCAA and the University of Oregon. While at Oregon, I know we were fully cooperative with all aspects of the investigation and I will continue to contribute in any way that I can. But until the NCAA rules on the matter, I will have no further comment,” Kelly said Tuesday in a statement released by the Eagles.

Ducks offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich was promoted to head coach at Oregon following Kelly’s departure.

Oregon was penalized by the NCAA in 2004 for a major violation involving the improper recruitment of a junior college player by an assistant coach. The university was put on probation for two years and the unidentified assistant coach was suspended without pay for a week and restricted from some recruiting activities.

Oregon remained eligible for postseason play and did not lose any scholarships because of that violation, which occurred in 2003. The case was resolved without a formal hearing after the NCAA’s governing body agreed with the university’s proposed penalties.

The summary disposition, submitted Oct. 30 of last year, said the NCAA had yet to determine whether the previous penalty has impact on the current case.

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