To the Point

There comes a time in every epoch when pragmatism simply evolves into extreme acquiescence and surrender to the forces of apathy and do-nothingness, a guarantor of the status quo in all of its easy, democratic criminality--its fortress of greed. You could line up all the pols in the U.S. in a straight row and examine them head to toe and not find a single man or woman capable of admitting, never mind ending, the corruption of their vocation--Buddy Dooley

Friday, June 7, 2013

Shared Award/Oregon and the NCAA

Sounds like the NCAA is drawing closer to a decision, finally, regarding Oregon's football program.

I expect the news to be bad, worse than a lot of die-hard Duck fans imagine.

The sin was egregious, to say the least.  Oregon's Chip Kelly, now the coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, paid one Willie Lyles, a Houston-based college football talent scout, 25K for a recruiting "package" which materialized in the form of a highly-coveted recruit/running back out of Texas named Lache Seastrunk.

Seastrunk never played a down at Oregon before transferring to Baylor, near his hometown of Temple, where he has become a star and potential Heisman candidate.  For the record, Seastrunk and Lyles, who were close before this business began, have both denied that the payment in any fashion influenced the running back's decision to come to Oregon. But the claim is thinly veiled, which is one reason a judgment on this case has taken so long.

The absurdity inherent in this situation is that Kelly and Oregon's compliance office (being the entity that interprets and supposedly abides by the NCAA's rules) never tried to conceal the payment, as it fell in the hazy category of "recruiting services" that many college football programs rely on to find recruits.

Oregon cut Lyles a fat check, too fat as it turned out. Oregon in effect out-bid other colleges who recruited  Seastrunk, though the NCAA hasn't been able to unequivocally prove as much.

There is plausible deniability everywhere, in other words.

The typical cost of a package of recruiting information, even in Willie Lyles' orbit of business, was 5K.  The 25K check threw up red flags throughout the college football world.  In fact, Oregon never received a recruiting package from Lyles, until after questions arose about the deal.

What finally arrived after the fact was a hastily drawn package of outdated and useless material.

Kelly without question took advantage of a gray area in the NCAA guidelines.

He stepped over the line, and essentially embarrassed the powers-that-be in Indianapolis, where the NCAA holds shop and controls the purse strings of the gazillion dollar business of college football.

I expect the NCAA to make an example of Oregon even as it attempts to rewrite the rules governing recruiting services like the one Lyles ran.

For Oregon's role in this disaster and for the NCAA's inability to resolve the situation in an efficient and timely manner, Dooley and I proudly present this week's "Idiot of the Week Award" to the University of Oregon Athletic Department and the NCAA's Committee on Infractions (COI).

Well done, folks.


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