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Ducks waited years for this?

by: TRIBUNE FILE PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Former Oregon Ducks coach Chip Kelly, admiring the Fiesta Bowl trophy before the 2013 game against Kansas State, admitted failed to monitor the UO program to NCAA regulations, but isn't likely to suffer from the penalties announced Wednesday.Initial reaction to penalties handed out Wednesday to Oregon's football program by the NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions:

We waited 27 months for this?

What the committee came up with could have been decided in 27 minutes.

In its dealings with the committee, Oregon admitted to six major infractions:

• Recruiting violations by owner of recruiting/scouting service, who became a booster.

• Use of recruiting/scouting service that did not comply with NCAA legislation.

• Impermissible phone calls placed by non-coaching staff members.

• Exceeding coaching staff limitations.

• Head coach's failure to monitor.

• Institutional failure to monitor.

For those violations, Oregon gets a "public reprimand and censure" and three years of probation, loses three scholarships over a three-year period, gets a reduction of paid recruiting visits and evaluation days for three years and — get this — a ban on subscription to recruiting services during the probationary period.

That'll teach 'em.

No bowl ban. No penalties for use of players illegally recruited. No vacation of game victories or conference championships.

Public reprimand and censure? Imagine the shame.

If I ever stand before a jury, I want this 10-person independent group — comprised mostly of attorneys and school and conference officials — to decide my fate.

The penalties are pretty much what Oregon proposed in its summary disposition submitted in April. The committee basically meted what the Ducks asked. The committee could have saved us time by accepting the UO proposal then.

Gary Haugen should have as much luck dealing with John Kitzhaber in his bid for lethal injection.

Chip Kelly is laughing — probably smirking — all the way to the bank in Philadelphia.

An additional "penalty" laid out by the infractions committee is an 18-month "show-cause order" for the former Oregon coach. If the Chipster should decide to leave the Eagles for a college job — let's say, Wyoming — before Christmas 2014, he'll have to go before the committee and explain why he is deserving of another opportunity.

During a half-hour teleconference Wednesday morning, Greg Sankey — executive associate commissioner and COO for the Southeastern Conference — served as the committee's spokesman. (Sounded more like an attorney, by the way.) As he bobbed and weaved through questions from the media, Sankey was asked if the sanctions on Oregon could be perceived as a slap on the wrist.

"I've not met an institution that wants to go through the infractions and enforcement process," Sankey shot back. "This was a multi-year effort, and there are penalties that impact the program. The committee makes its decision based on the information presented, not on other speculation and evaluations."

And isn't the penalty on Kelly rather toothless, given he is now in the NFL?

"I'm not going to go through a dental exam," he said. "I've not met a person who is seeking to have a show-cause order apply to him. The committee finds it meaningful even in circumstances when someone has left (the school), and it is meaningful in this case."

Compare Oregon's sanctions with those of Southern Cal in the Reggie Bush/O.J. Mayo case. Though Kelly was admittedly involved in the Ducks' violations and there was never any proven involvement by then-coach Pete Carroll in the latter case, the Trojans were forced to vacate two wins from their 2004 national championship season as well as all of their 2005 victories, plus they got a two-year bowl ban and loss of 30 scholarships over three years. The USC basketball team gave up all its wins from 2007-08 and was docked one year of postseason play. All this despite the fact that USC was not a repeat violator, and Oregon was, stemming from its 2004 illegal recruiting of J.J. Arrington.

You have to admit, the NCAA infractions committee is consistent.

The repeat violation, Sankey related Wednesday, forced the committee to increase Oregon's probationary period from two years to three. If the Ducks mess up again before then, they're going to find themselves right back in front of the committee, trousers pulled to the knees, poised for more disciplinary action.

The Ducks' ban from recruiting services while on probation means they can't have any contact with their old friend and booster, Will Lyles.

Just the football program, that is. Acrobatics and tumbling, for instance, can still use a recruiting service, as long its not Steamboat Willie.

If Oregon officials hadn't been so cooperative in the investigation, they might have gotten socked even harder. I'm thinking a two-year show-cause order on Kelly. Maybe an asterisk on one or two of those Pac-12 football titles.

The Ducks didn't commit vehicular homicide. But whatever they did, they got away with a parking ticket.

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