Oregon dumped documents Monday night. A lot of documents. Over 200 pages, showing how the Ducks flaunted NCAA rules, engaging in all kinds of naughty behavior, a list of actions topped with Chip Kelly’s painfully illicit dealings with Willie Lyles.
The Ducks say there was no lack of institutional control.
No lack of institutional control when Oregon has already admitted to “Underlying major violations coupled with failure to monitor violations involving the head coach (2009 through 2011) and the athletics department (2008-2011)''.
Basically, Kelly could have been the next Pablo Escobar and Oregon would have turned the other cheek.
Forget institutional control, there was no control period on Kelly. Oregon made a deal with the devil. The Ducks let Kelly do whatever he pleased. There was no control, and Kelly wasn’t ever in a mood to stop recklessly chasing the national championship that would make his career in the NFL.
Kelly stopped just short of a national title, but he knew when the time was right to jump ship. Kelly’s stature will diminish over time in Eugene because, like the worst kind of coward, he ran when things got tough, leaving his friends – if he had any – to clean up after him.
Kelly runs and gets away scot-free, while Mark Helfrich has to start his tenure as Oregon head coach with the NCAA sledgehammer hanging over his head.
I’m not saying Oregon should be slammed by the NCAA. I’m not recommending a bowl ban, or a dramatic reduction of scholarships, but I’m also not pretending there was no lack of institutional control, the three buzzwords that have sunk programs from sea to shining sea.
Oregon’s case is one of the most blatant lack of institutional control cases across the overflowing desk of the NCAA. Still, Kelly wasn’t covering for a child molester, he wasn’t covering for his players when they got in trouble with the law, and he didn’t cover-up positive drug tests. Kelly didn’t pay players, and he didn’t let boosters run the football program. Oh, except for Lyles, who is officially classified by the NCAA as a booster.
So the question is, how low are the NCAA’s standards? Because if their standards are high, Oregon would get knuckles chopped off, not just rapped. But we all know that by NCAA standards, Oregon just stole a cookie or two from the cookie jar. This case isn’t a big deal to the NCAA big-wigs; that’s why they haven’t found the time to notice it for a year or two.
Kelly is not a respectable figure. He obviously thinks he’s above the law. With his coaching talent, his pedigree, and his ability to move on, he may just be above the law. But the school, the players, the coaches he left behind aren’t. They’re going to feel the effects of Kelly’s cheating, even though they are nowhere near as harsh effects as they should be.
Scholarship reductions sting. Just ask USC. Programs saddled with scholarship reductions, on probation, don’t fall off the face of the earth, but they are weakened. The Ducks deserve to be somewhat weakened and they will be. Still, this is Kelly’s fault. He should have the book thrown at him, but as the newly minted coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, he’s out of range for NCAA missiles.
Oregon is living in a perpetual disaster that Kelly created. There still is no closure, but the extent of the cheating gets clearer with each passing day. There was a total lack of institutional control. There is also a total lack of justice for the perpetrators of this mess.
Abe Asher is on Twitter. Follow him at @AbesWorldSports