Oregon escapes the wrath of the NCAA
Mark Helfrich's first year as Oregon's head coach will neither be marred by a postseason ban nor a drawn-out appeal of NCAA sanctions, as the governing body's Committee on Infractions let the Ducks off easy following an investigation into the school's use of football recruiting services.
The NCAA on Wednesday ruled that former Ducks head coach Chip Kelly will receive an 18-month show-cause penalty, while the football program will receive three years of probation (which ends June 25, 2016), lose only one scholarship for two years and get reduced evaluation days, reduced official paid visits and a ban on the use of recruiting services during the probation period. In addition, a former assistant director of operations (most likely Josh Gibson) received a 12-month show-cause penalty.
While it is not yet official, do not expect the school to appeal these sanctions.
Essentially, these penalties serve as a slap on the wrist for the Ducks despite Kelly writing out a $25,000 check in 2010 to street agent Willie Lyles for his recruiting aid. It would be discovered that Lyles had a connection with an Oregon recruit.
Oregon will now enter this fall as one of the country's preseason favorites to reach the BCS national title game knowing that it isn't facing a postseason ban.
CLICK HERE for the official NCAA release regarding the Ducks' recruiting violations.