Culture of Football? It’s for the birds.
The NCAA Enforcement Squad’s latest problem child is the University of Oregon (hereinafter referred to as the Ducks, because it makes it even more ridiculous), who have actually fessed up about at least one major violation relating to recruiting practices.
Feeling that vindication varies directly with poundage, the Ducks released 515 pages of evidence to the local newsrag, The Oregonian, who actually posted these things — lots and lots of emails with significant redactage (I made that word up) — guaranteed to bore you after you view the first 10 or so. Being a glutton for punishment, I looked at the first 100 or and the last hundred or so, just to claim to be thorough. I was overwhelmed by all the stuff in the last group, which provided dispositions of prior recruiting cases dating way the hell back to the Garden of Eden.
Now, even in view of the embarrassingly defensive publication of poundage, the Ducks are in deep duck soup. One major issue is paying a $25,000 fee to a talent scout in Texas. Oy!
You want to talk about “football culture”? There you have it. Most of this occurred during the reign of Chip Kelly, who bolted Oregon to replace Andy Reid as head coach of the NFL Philadelphia Eagles in January.
However, the Ducks and the NCAA disagree on the severity of that particular violation. Oregon admits to major violations, but considers its payment to that agent in Texas to be a secondary violation. The NCAA considers it major. Are we splitting hairs here or what? Or is this an arabesque to try to soften the blow of the whole thing by saying, “Yeah, but it isn’t as bad as you say it is, and we have 800 pounds of heavily redacted documents to prove our Duckine veracity.”
Oregon pleads ignorance according to a USA Today report:
“Football staff members were not aware that the manner in which they were using scouting/recruiting services was impermissible,” Oregon said in its October 2012 summary disposition. “Nonetheless, the recruiting advantage that was gained via the oral reports from scouting services personnel was more than the minimal.”
The NCAA has no reason to believe Lyles “coerced or directed any prospect to ultimately choose Oregon.” However, according to another document, “Lyles did provide a meaningful recruiting advantage by orally providing background information about prospects to the coaching staff and also by serving as a conduit to facilitate communication with prospective student-athletes.”
Lyles’ connection with Oregon first drew the NCAA’s attention in March 2011, after a Yahoo Sports report detailed how the school paid Lyles shortly after five-star running back Lache Seastrunk joined the Ducks’ football program. Lyles had been a mentor to Seastrunk, who was from Temple, Texas.
Yep. Vintage Chip Kelly. Culture of football. This petri dish is growing some interesting cultures.
The next step is appearing before the NCAA infractions committee. An unnamed Ducky said that the NCAA had taken a bowl ban off the table in preliminary talks; however, the Ducks were willing to accept recruiting penalties and scholarship reductions. As the investigation proceeded, the path forward got pretty muddy, so all bets are off.
This thing has dragged on for quite a while. News of the $25,000 payoff emerged in March 2011, a couple of months after the Ducks appeared in their first SSMNC game.
Read the Oregonian report on this sordid mess and let me know what you think. I’ll forgive you if you don’t read all 515 documents.
NCAA flips a bird at Sebastian.
Meanwhile, back at Indianapolis, the NCAA is smugly pooh-poohing the University of Miami’s (hereinafter referred to as Sebastian the Ibis) attempt to get the case against it dismissed. Saith Jonathan Duncan (hereinafter referred to as Jake the Enforcer), the NCAA Interim Vice President of Enforcement, stated:
“In the enforcement staff’s view, the motions to dismiss are largely based on assumptions, false accusations, misleading statements and meritless claims about the enforcement staff and its investigation. For the reasons set forth below, the enforcement staff requests that the Committee on Infractions deny the motions.”
Former Clintonista and long-time president of “The U”, Donna Shalala, had previously spoken loud and hard about the unprofessional practices of the NCAA Enforcement squad. Donna takes no shit from no quarter.
In a CBS Sports story, Jake the Enforcer also defended several enforcement staff members who have since been fired:
“The enforcement staff ‘self-reported’ the [Maria Elena] Perez [attorney for Shapiro who was paid by the NCAA after doing that work, though she contends that she never actually was employed by the association] issue and then cooperated diligently with internal NCAA staff members and the Cadwalader firm to fully identify and disclose information related to the Perez issue. After an external investigation, those individuals found to have had culpability in the matter have been held accountable, and as a united enforcement staff, we deeply regret, have apologized for and are embarrassed by the events and circumstances. Nevertheless, we will not stand idly by when meritless, personal attacks are launched under the broad brush stroke of ‘enforcement staff misconduct.’
“… Overall, the enforcement staff believes that the institution is again grasping at straws in an attempt to disqualify members of the enforcement team with the most knowledge about the case. Not only are these personal attacks based on no evidence that would support the removal of Barnhart and Hannah from the case, they are also not a basis for dismissal of the case in its entirety.”
So, there you have it. The NCAA can do no wrong. The game is on center stage. The Indianapolis Arrogant Pricks vs. the Miamah Strong-Willed Culture of Football.
The NCAA can defend its shoddy practices for only so long. But do they need to? Who’s going to do anything about them?
All of this stuff is good fodder for Corbett’s case against them, should it ever go to trial. Here’s hoping!