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Oregon acknowledges recruiting violations in ‘proposed findings’

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Questions surrounding Oregon’s business relationship with Complete Scouting Services owner Willie Lyles have laid dormant for several months. Perhaps answers to those questions will be addressed in the near future.

In the meantime, the NCAA and Oregon have come to a mutual conclusion on one thing: NCAA recruiting violations were committed by the school.

Oregon’s athletic department released heavily-redacted documents Friday to local media that stated the football program did not conform to NCAA recruiting regulations over the past four years. The NCAA submitted a “proposed findings of violations” in which the Ducks acknowledged they had used at least three scouting services from 2008-11, and paying $45,245 in the process, that did not comply with NCAA legislation. UO also agreed to exceeding the permissible number of coaches involved in recruiting by one between 2009 and 2011.

HERE is a copy of those drafts sent from the NCAA to UO. As you can see, half of the information is missing. Additionally, here’s a statement from UO athletic director Rob Mullens.

But perhaps the most damaging of the proposed findings is the NCAA and UO “agreed that from 2008 through 2011, the scope and nature of the violations … demonstrate that the athletics department failed to adequately monitor the football program’s use of recruiting or scouting services.”

It should be noted that the proposed findings aren’t the same as a Notice of Allegations — the school stated it had not received that as of Friday afternoon — and this is all very preliminary; nothing in the way of “punishment” has been addressed.

Oregon received a Notice of Inquiry from the NCAA in September to notify the start of the formal investigation into the program after questions were raised about the school’s business dealings with Lyles. Lyles has claimed, among other things, that the school paid him $25,000 for his influence with recruits.

(Hat tip: Eugene Register-Guard) 

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27 Responses to “Oregon acknowledges recruiting violations in ‘proposed findings’”
  1. thekatman says: Feb 24, 2012 7:39 PM

    If you have followed the steps the NCAA took to sanction USC, you find that these issues are far greater than what happened at USC.

    The most damaging of the proposed findings is the NCAA and UO “agreed that from 2008 through 2011, the scope and nature of the violations … demonstrate that the athletics department failed to adequately monitor the football program’s use of recruiting or scouting services.” This is huge and most likely will result in a Failure to Monitor and perhaps a Lack of Institutional Control, becasue this practice has been going on for several years. And paying for illegal scouting services will, again, be problematic for Oregon.

    What is so stupid and showed a complete lack of foresight are the two signed “thank you” notes from the Oregon AD and Chip Kelly to Willie Lyles, on Oregon letterhead note cards….. Wow! What a huge mistake that will turn out to be.

    I don’t wish anything on the Oregon program, like what the NCAA did to USC, becasue what happened to USC was not an appropriate use of their jurisdiction, and they exceedingly over-sanctioned USC for something Reggie’s greedy parents did, not the school.

  2. kmank says: Feb 24, 2012 7:48 PM

    Cheating gets you nowhere!!!!

  3. birdcen says: Feb 24, 2012 7:50 PM

    And the SEC is the only ones who cheat…get a grip college football world. It happens everywhere and if you don’t believe it, you are a tool. Sleep tight.

  4. jaggedmark says: Feb 24, 2012 8:00 PM

    Finally! The illegal recruiting racket that is the University of Oregon Football Ducks has been nailed.

    Been going on for years.

  5. kmank says: Feb 24, 2012 8:57 PM

    The SEC neva cheeets! wake up home boy. birdrulez .. lol how bout the U!

  6. webfootdoug58 says: Feb 24, 2012 10:10 PM

    While this report is so heavily redacted that we really don’t know just what is going on, it does appear to be pretty serious.

    As the state of Oregon produces very few top level recruits, out of state recruiting is our lifeline. And it seems that in order to be successful at this we had to cut some corners and depend on some sleazebag agents.

    If we have to choose between being a good team that’s based on integrity, or a great but corrupted team that can beat “The Big Boys”, I’d choose the former.
    For too long our UO athletic department and administration have believed in “Just Do It” as long as it produces those glorious wins and the the fame and money which came with them.

    Now that game is over and we’ll have to pay the price.
    A sad day for a university which once had an excellent reputation for high academic ethics.

    And let this be a warning to other schools that think winning the BCS rat-race is what our nation’s universities are all about.

  7. swu32733 says: Feb 24, 2012 11:16 PM

    U of Oregon athletics are a joke. They represent all that is screwed up with college sports. Their football and basketball programs are wholly owned commercial subsidiaries of Nike. Never has big money had such a financial interest in amateur sports in this country.

  8. tcwestdad says: Feb 25, 2012 12:53 AM

    I find it funny that most people know which schools cheat (cough, bama, cough, ohio state, cough, LSU, cough, USC), and somehow the NCAA seems unwilling to make cheaters pay.

  9. hawkinsob says: Feb 25, 2012 1:11 AM

    The joke as I see it is all of you who are salivating over what you hope are major sanctions in a situation in which what is alleged is totally minor compared to what has happened at so many other schools. There is no allegation of players’ families being paid or given anything of value. There is no allegation of players receiving benefits. Too many coaches recruiting. Paying a recruiting service for video (which is fine) and to also say nice things about a school to persuade a kid to go there (the illegal part). Violations, OK, but there is no allegation that any students were paid anything, which is something that has happened at many, many big programs. I agree with tcwestdad–the big programs pretty routinely do completely illegal stuff involving players getting flat-out paid or given benefits, and often it results in very little punishment, but a less well known program will get heavily scrutinized for lesser offenses.

  10. pdcooper08 says: Feb 25, 2012 2:11 AM

    @tcwestdad: Your really going to lump USC in with the others here. I guess the sanactions the NCAA handed down on them where not real or enough for you. I think they paid the price for Reggie and his families poor and greedy choices. Let’s get it right, USC has paid dearly for that one act.

  11. xtremesportsmaniac says: Feb 25, 2012 6:22 AM

    Make sense why Chip was about to head the Bucs.

  12. effjohntaylornorelation says: Feb 25, 2012 7:49 AM

    @birdcen

    Um, okay? This article, much to your obvious angst, has nothing to do about one of the fine SEC schools (hehe, that always makes me pee a little). Unable to overlook you massive paranoia complex; You’re stating what the rest of college football believes to be true about the SEC. Who cares?

  13. uscatjerseyshore says: Feb 25, 2012 10:03 AM

    Augmenting @pd’s comments, Oregon’s issues relate specifically to the Oregon program paying for recruiting services, scouting services and having more coaches than the allowed number of coaches recruiting all done to build and maintain the Oregon program. All this occurred over several years up to and including 2011. In comparison, USC’s sanctions related to relatives of 2 high profile athletes attempting to cash in on anticipated post-college careers. The NCAA report and the appeal report emphasized that USC had a “Responsibility to Cooperate” and the need to comply with a “Cooperative Principal”. Strangely the appeal report said that while USC met the obligation for cooperation the NCAA judged that this cooperation did not warrant any relief from the 2 year bowl ban and loss of 30 scholarships rather than reemphasizing the severity of the sanctions related specifically to “lack of institutional control”.

    Compare these situations:
    – Auburn QB Cam Newton & his father allegedly received between $180,000-$200,000 to play for the Tigers (case dropped due to lack of evidence)
    – tOSU “fat five” football players getting $20,000 and the head coach Tressel “misrepresenting” what occurred allowing guilty player to play in a bowl game – result one year ban and the loss of 9 scholarship over 3 years, 21 less that USC
    – South Carolina self imposed the loss of 6 scholarships over 3 years for $55K of impermissible benefits – $47K for student athletes off campus housing at a hotel and the balance relating to recruiting violations. Waiting to see what the NCAA does with this on.
    – UMiami – the NCAA has already determined that at least 12 players had received impermissible benefits with sanctions yet to come which may or may not be significant. Also waiting for the NCAA to rule on this one with special interest considering the then UMiami AD Paul Dee, was the chair of the NCAA infractions committee that handed down the USC penalties.

    It seems to be a difference here as the Auburn, OSU, South Carolina and UMiami issues relate to getting and keeping athletes to the benefit of the schools involved. USC’s issues stem from individuals providing seed money to gain advantage to potentially represent two high-profile student-athletes post-college career.

    By definition “cheating” is an immoral action to achieve a goal. It is breaking the rules to gain advantage in a competitive situation. In all of the aforementioned schools other than USC, and in this case Oregon the description of cheating is quite appropriate. In USC’s case there was no advantage gained to warrant the severity of the NCAA sanctions in comparison to the light or non-existent penalities at other schools. That it took 4 years to investigate events that occurred two years before the investigation even started with hard impact that will be seen when a senior on the USC team was still in the 6th grade underscores NCAA’s inconsistency or fairness.

  14. addict2sport says: Feb 25, 2012 10:29 AM

    uscatjerseyshore, that was an excellent post!

  15. birdcen says: Feb 25, 2012 3:52 PM

    Nice comments EFFJOHN…what a moron. Who cares about the SEC? How about your cute little program…how often they won? The last 7? Don’t think so knob….nice try douche. Enjoy another season finishing not first! Put that in your pipe and smoke it. SEC is king and always will be. Peace out.

  16. pdcooper08 says: Feb 25, 2012 6:06 PM

    @uscjerseyshore- Very well said, and thank you for that. I still have a hard time with the whole USC punishment. You say it was two athletes. Reggie Bush punishment is one thing, but why should the football program be held accountable for OJ Mayo or anything the Basketball program did? I still don’t get it. Mike Garrett must have really pissed the NCAA off.

  17. thekatman says: Feb 25, 2012 7:41 PM

    Yes, Garrett pissed off the NCAA, because of his comments that were published, though his comments were stated in a private, booster dinner. I believe the main problem was that the NCAA COI based their 30 schollie reductions on their perceived notion that becasue SC had Reggie Bush on the squad, before his family stried the “get rich” scheme too early, that recruits came to SC based on just Reggie’s presence. We all know that was a BS lie by Paul Dee and his COI minions. Truth be told, the Commissioners of the SEC, Big 10 and Notre Dame complained that USC and Pete Carroll must’ve been cheating, because, otherwise, how could he have a team that was so dominant during those days. They WERE jealous of “The Program”, that Pete Carroll and Mike Garrett put together. SC was the best team on the field on any given game, and if there was a playoff system, SC had the odds with them to win the “big game” from 2003 – 2008, hands down. That was a dynasty the haters did not want to happen. There isn’t a college team today that has that kind of staying power.

    With that said, Yes, some schools use recruiting agents to held farm the high schools of the country, but what Oregon did was illegal, hence the NCAA issue. Remember, the NCAA COI issued penalties against SC for using an extra coach during practice and got hammered for that one, so if Oregon has been using an extra coach for the past 3 years, well this is another supporting argument for Failure to Monitor and Lack of Institutional Control. And if the NCAA COI can tie the illegal recruiting practice to the acquisition of LMJ, Darren Thomas and the rest of the Texas kids on the Oregon team, including DAT, then that will add to the already long list of infractions that the Oregon program will have to defend themselves against.

    And then if the NCAA isn’t satisfied with the evidence at hand and has the premeditated goal to sanction the Ducks, like they did with USC, the COI will just make up rules infractions and will also vote on rules that they can use against the school later….. Again, something they did during the USC investigation. No university can cross examine an NCAA witness, nor have access to the witnes for a deposition. You are not allowed to require the NCAA to prove their case, as they don’t have to when the NCAA is fulfills the roles of prosecuting attorney, judge and jury.

    Good luck.

  18. frug says: Feb 25, 2012 8:15 PM

    @thekatman

    Why is that USC fans keep forgetting that the reason NCAA hammered USC is because they had major violations in THREE sports. If it had just been Reggie Bush, they would have been sanctioned but not as heavily.

  19. pdcooper08 says: Feb 25, 2012 8:20 PM

    Well said catman, thx for the insight. Since it was my team that has been given the hammer, I am waiting patiently to see the NCAA come down on others like they did SC.

    I’d like to believe the NCAA is doing things the correct way and for the betterment of college sports, but right now, I don’t see it. Good luck to the Ducks on this one.

  20. thekatman says: Feb 25, 2012 8:29 PM

    @frug: major infractions against 2 sports, of which were basketball and football. The Basketball program self-sanctioned to the agreement of the NCAA. The football sanctions and penalties had nothing to do with basketball nor tennis, the 3rd sport. You might want to get yourself a copy of the NCAA documentation, USC’s response and also the actual document where the sanctions and penalties are spelled out. You’ll learn something about the out-of-control NCAA COI’s ways of doing business, how they investigate schools and the absolute power they have over member schools.

    As for the 3rd sport, tennis; a female schollie tennis player used an illegally obtained athletic dept long-distance calling card and called her mom and dad from school. Her parents live in eastern Europe, Yugoslavia, I believe. If you consider that infraction a major violation, then Oregon is really in for it.

  21. frug says: Feb 25, 2012 10:19 PM

    @thekatman

    You are right, the tennis violations were not classified as major (though they forfeited 4 years worth of wins).

    But that was the point. USC attempted to offer up the MBB and WT teams as a sort of sacrifice to the NCAA, with the MBB sanctions being highly appropriate and the WT (probably) being excessively harsh. At the same time, USC was completely dismissive (and in many cases antagonistic) of the FB investigation despite the fact it involved more money than virtually any scandal since SMU’s slush funds.

    Anyways, the NCAA didn’t like the “deal” that USC offered and resented USC behavior during the investigation so they hammered them. The fact is, if USC had self sanctioned the FB and fully complied with the investigation they probably could have gotten off with sanctions marginally more painful than those Ohio St. got. USC has only itself (and Mike Garret) to blame for what happened.

  22. pdcooper08 says: Feb 26, 2012 1:01 AM

    I agree with that. The way MG handeled matters cost him his job and the 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th graders at that time there current punishment.

  23. uscatjerseyshore says: Feb 26, 2012 9:57 AM

    I also believe the severity of USC’s sanctions had a lot to do with how USC approached the NCAA during the original investigation and the appeal process was more or less a farce in that it would have resulted in the NCAA admitting that what they had imposed in the first place was excessive.

    Since Oregon can see that the by USC sanction precedence it is only a matter of time before they self impose. Since the Oregon athletic program is largely underwritten by Nike, it’s a good bet that a course of action has been developed on how to deal with the NCAA. With Nike (through alumni Phil Knight) dropping over $300 million on stadium additions, luxury boxes, and palatial locker rooms, NCAA’s investigation of $45K paid to scouting services seems a little misguided.

  24. webfootdoug58 says: Feb 26, 2012 3:12 PM

    “FROM WHAT I’VE SEEN OF THE ATHLETIC DEPARTMENT, THEIR BUDGETING IS JUST SMOKE AND MIRRORS, SO I DON’T PUT MUCH FAITH IN IT.”

    So says University of Oregon economics professor and member of the UO’s Intercollegiate Athletics Committee Bill Harbaugh in a massive, front page article in today’s Eugene Register-Guard on the newest financial problems of the athletic department.

    This article focuses on the revenue shortfall produced by the absurdly luxurious new Mathew Knight Arena. As the basketball teams and other entertainments, such as a rodeo and concerts, haven’t drawn nearly the ticket sales projected, the athletic department is going to have to draw $14.5 million from the $130 million “Legacy Fund”, a gift mostly from Phil and Penny Knight, in order to meet debt service payments on the arena.
    On top of this they are trying to cut their bloated costs and increase revenue.

    This puts even more pressure on the football team to get and keep the star recruits to allow them to win the big games that will bring in the big money to help the athletic department balance its books and not draw money from the university’s underfunded academic program.

    All in all, a recipe for future disasters such as the one the Ducks are currently undergoing with their NCAA review.
    But it’s also a pattern which may sound familiar to other sports programs struggling to make it in today’s tough economic world.

  25. thekatman says: Feb 26, 2012 3:48 PM

    To all:
    USC did work directly and succintly with the NCAA during the investigation and the NCAA paperwork expressly stated so. The NCAA COI had submitted its report, with sanctions and penalties, to the nCAA and 2 days laer rescinded that paperwork and revised it, increasing the sanctions and penalties to what we know now as the most rediculous set of penalties and sanctions in NCAA history.

    As for a school overspending on stadium upgrades, frivolous entertainment, outlandish locker rooms, and now having funding issues for athletics and the scholastic endeavours…. well, those are rookie mistakes and typical of new and upcoming schools who think they can attrack the best and brightest through glitz, glamour and no substance.

    USC, no matter how hard they were hit by the NCAA remains the strongest force in Pac-12 football, and all schools try to be like “The Program”. You all must know, and if you don’t then you’re not keeping up to date with what the Pac-12 Commissioner has accomplish because of USC, and soely because of USC. The recently negotiated TV contracts and the money each Pac-12 school has received and will receive is strictly attributed to Larry Scott’s negotiations and the reputation of USC. Without USC, Scott’s got nothing to bank on. The TV dollars have been awarded to all Pac-12 schools, hence why most of the schools are remodeling/modernizing their stadiums, athletic departments and have recruited 2 strong coaches in Mike Leach and Rich Rodriguez. without the dollars those two coaches wouldn’t be coaching in the Pac-12, becasue thoise schools wouldn’t attract them and couldn’t afford them.

    So, Oregon….. prepare to be thoroughly investigated, even more so than what has been completed already. If the school self-sanctions too early and not hard enough, that’ll raise the ire of the NCAA and they’ll lay the hammer down so hard, you’ll have Duck pate’ in short order.

    UCLA? Well, no matter how much money they pay a coach they just can’t get it done. Think Dan Guerrero, the AD, is going to wait 4 years for Mora to turn around that program like he did with Rick Neuheisal? Doubt it.

  26. southernpatriots says: Feb 28, 2012 1:04 PM

    webfootdoug58:

    Sorry for you good fans of the Ducks to experience this mess. We have had our share (in the SEC) over the years and it is not pleasant to go through.

    There are some great businessmen and women in Oregon and the Northwest. Some of the very best in the world. Why doesn’t Oregon humble themselves, go to the Knights and others and get some auditors and oversight for what appears to be a program that has gotten out of control? Perhaps a fan or booster will telephone them and make a suggestion? After all, it was a simple suggestion a few years back that started the ball rolling at LSU and the LSU-Oregon game at Jerry’s World came about.

  27. webfootdoug58 says: Mar 1, 2012 2:56 AM

    Southernpatriots,
    It’s always great to see one of your classy posts. I still appreciate our positive links between the far corners of America, which seem to have started with that suggestion for a UO-LSU game.
    I also remember the dignity with which you faced the rather painful end of what had been a tremendous season for LSU.

    As far as your suggestion of ways for the UO to get out of our problems-
    First, remember, Oregon is a fairly small state with serious economic problems, so we have become very dependent on Nike and football money.
    Second, I do think we are on our way up with Rob Mullen to straightening out this mess which seems to have grown and grown, then spiraled out of control during the Belloti A.D. era. That’s what Mullens was brought in for.

    And third, calling on Nike for help on this would be, in my opinion, like asking the wolf to help guard the hen house.
    I believe it was Knight and his dumping too much money on the athletic department which got us in to this mess.
    It has given Nike too much control, it has reworked the Oregon “brand” and it has led to this distressing “win at any cost” philosophy that caused the problem.

    Remember, this became a major issue several years ago with the disaster of the “Workers Rights Consortium”, a new international organization which tried to raise the standards of workers in overseas companies such as Nike’s suppliers, which it had criticized. Under pressure from students and faculty, University President Dave Frohnmayer finally, endorsed our membership, but without consulting Phil Knight.

    Knight was furious, suspended the $30 million he’d promised to rebuild Autzen Stadium, and eventually forced the university to its knees. After several years of our begging, the Knights finally came back, but unlike before, their money has mainly gone to athletic department rather than academic needs. The result, we have among the most glamorous athletic facilities, highly paid coaches and administrators, high and rising tuition, inadequate academic facilities, and among the lowest faculty salaries of top level universities in America.

    And how have we been rebranded as power shifted from the faculty to the athletic department? For example, the university seal, which had a picture of Mt. Hood and the Latin motto for “Mind over matter” has been replaced on university letterhead by the athletic department “O”.

    More obvious, though our colors are yellow and green, our flashy Nike uniforms rarely use our traditional bright green, but use black or dark gray with the yellow– even when we played our rival Oregon State this week in basketball– and black is an OSU color. Check us out on TV this weekend.

    We can only assume Nike doesn’t like green, for obvious reasons.

    Anyway, it is sad that things have gotten so far out of hand that an outside group, the NCAA, has had to step in and straighten us out. But with our new A.D., new university president, an aroused faculty talking about unionizing, and media and alumni scrutiny, I believe we are on our way back up. If that means no more BCS Championship games, so be it.

    Southernpatriots, Thanking you again for your good wishes,
    and all the best to LSU,
    webfootdoug58

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