Will Oregon learn its NCAA fate before the 2013 season begins?
While the NCAA has been its usual slow self throughout its investigation into the football program in Eugene, Thayer Evans of Sports Illustrated tweeted late Wednesday afternoon that the Ducks appeared before the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions last Friday in Dallas, according to one of his sources. This news comes on the heels of last week's report that the Ducks and the NCAA agreed that at least one “major violation” was committed by the football program.
According to Evans, former head coach Chip Kelly attended the hearing and maintained that Willie Lyles’ scouting service was used “the same way other schools do” and that the program was not in the wrong in relation to its recruiting practices. The NCAA began investigating Oregon's $25,000 payment to Lyles' Complete Scouting Service in March 2011.
Per Evans, the infractions committee is expected to issue its decision on possible sanctions for the program in the next 60 to 90 days.
This news is most significant because it means that any penalties, such as a postseason bowl ban, could be applied to the Ducks as soon as the upcoming season. And, of course, a bowl ban could seriously alter the national landscape in regards to the BCS, as Oregon is expected to be a national title contender under first-year head coach Mark Helfrich.
However, Oregon will have the option to appeal after the COI gives its ruling, so this process could still extend past the 2013 season if the Ducks go that route.