Oregon ‘agreeing’ to violations isn’t exactly how it sounds

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Yesterday evening, Oregon pulled a PR maneuver released “proposed findings of violations” documents submitted to the university by the NCAA regarding possible improper recruiting tactics. In it, there are seven findings, four of which are entirely redacted. The other three all have one thing in common: the word “agree.”

Proposed finding No. 2 (Bylaw 13.14.3) states “It is agreed that from 2008 through 2011, the football program paid for subscriptions to at least three recruiting or scouting services.” It is believed those subscriptions did not conform to NCAA legislation.

Proposed finding No. 5 (Bylaw 11.7.2) says “It is agreed that from 2009 through 2011, the… football program exceeded the permissible limit on the number of recruiting coaches by one.”

Proposed finding No. 7 (Bylaw 2.8.1) says “It is agreed that from 2008 through 2011… the athletics department failed to adequately monitor the football program’s use of recruiting or scouting services.” 

But when the NCAA says Oregon “agreed” to certain proposed findings, it doesn’t mean that the school necessarily concedes to the consequences. In fact, an athletic spokesperson told the Associated Press last night that UO “does not acknowledge any of the violations.”

Well, for one, no school in their right mind is going to come out and admit anything. Secondly, these aren’t official violations; it’s not even a Notice of Allegations. There is nothing definitive about them. Nothing to acknowledge.

Rather, they are snapshots into the NCAA’s investigation ever since they handed Oregon a Notice of Inquiry last fall. The Eugene Register-Guard has a good explanation of what this means:

The discussion of proposed findings between Oregon and the NCAA could indicate the Ducks are attempting to pursue the summary disposition process, whereby a school and the NCAA enforcement staff attempt to reach agreement on rules violations and sanctions. One goal of the summary disposition process — essentially a plea bargain — is to avoid a hearing before the Committee on Infractions.

It’s not clear whether the NCAA ultimately would agree that Oregon should be able to avoid such a hearing, however.

The NCAA began investigating Oregon because of the school’s connection to Complete Scouting Services owner Willie Lyles and the apparent bogus scouting package he gave the school. But where the NCAA starts with its investigation and where it ends can be two different things. The heavily-redacted documents only mention Lyles twice — proposed violation 2(a) and 2(c). Is Lyles a bigger part of the NCAA proposed findings? There’s too much redacted to know for sure.

There’s also too much missing to know what this means for Oregon in terms of what punishment may or may not result. One would have to imagine that if Oregon is trying to work toward a so-called plea bargain that the school will eventually agree to some sort of sanctioning.

It’s simply too early to tell what those would be.

SMU confirms hiring of Sonny Dykes as new head coach

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After a year away from the head-coaching game, Sonny Dykes is back in it.

Not long after reports had surfaced earlier Monday, SMU confirmed a short time ago that Dykes has been named as the football program’s new head football coach.  Dykes replaces Chad Morris, who left for the same job at Arkansas late last week.

“I can’t tell you how excited I am to be introduced as the Head Coach at SMU,” a lengthy statement from Dykes began. “This is home and this is a program I grew up watching. I watched Mustang legends compete and I could always see myself putting on that iconic pony. Today, I’m proud to do just that.

“Coach Morris did great things here and I am fortunate that I have been selected to take the foundation Chad and his staff put in place and take it to a new level. And, make no mistake – That is what we plan to do.”

Prior to 2017, Dykes had spent the previous seven seasons as a head coach — four at Cal (2013-16) and three at Louisiana Tech (2010-12).  After being fired by the former school, he was considered a candidate for the offensive coordinator position at Arizona State.  Family issues, however, made TCU a better fit as he spent this past season as an offensive analyst with the Horned Frogs.

A native of Texas who played college baseball for Texas Tech, Dykes has gone 41-45 as a head coach — 22-15 at Louisiana Tech, 19-30 at Cal.

In Morris’ third season at SMU, the 7-5 Mustangs are bowl-eligible for the first time since 2012.

Florida DL Taven Bryan declares for NFL Draft

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The Dan Mullen era has everyone excited in Gainesville, but one key contributor won’t stick around to see it.

Defensive lineman Taven Bryan announced Monday he will leave school to enter his name in the 2018 NFL Draft. According to the statement released on his Twitter account, it sounds as if he made his mind up during the Jim McElwain and Randy Shannon regimes and nearly returned upon Mullen’s arrival.

Bryan ranked fifth on the team with 40 tackles while also recording six TFL and four sacks, just half a sack off the team lead.

A native of Casper, Wyo., Bryan will attempt to become just the third Wyoming native to be among the ranks of active NFL players.

SMU reportedly tabs former Cal, La Tech head coach Sonny Dykes as new head coach

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Sonny Dykes will take over as SMU’s head coach, according to multiple reports. The move was first reported by FotballScoop on Monday morning, and since confirmed by ESPN and Sports Illustrated.

Dykes takes over for Chad Morris, who left last week to become the head coach at Arkansas.

Morris was hired to re-establish ties with the Texas high school community after the program flatlined under June Jones, and Dykes has a similar appeal as his predecessor. Like Morris, Dykes is a former Texas high school coach, though only briefly. (He spent one year as the running backs coach at Richardson Pearce High School in 1994.) But more importantly he’s a name that will resonate with Texas high school coaches as the son of the legendary Spike Dykes.

The younger Dykes served as an assistant at Navarro Junior College and Texas Tech before taking over as the head coach at Louisiana Tech, where he led the Bulldogs to a 22-15 mark with one WAC championship from 2010-12. That success led him to Cal, where he took the Golden Bears to one bowl game in four seasons.

He was let go after the 2016 season, and spent the 2017 campaign laying low nearby the Hilltop, as an offensive analyst at TCU.

Dykes will inherit a 7-5 SMU team that ranked eighth nationally in scoring offense and 113th in scoring defense. The Mustangs will meet Dykes’s former team Louisiana Tech in the inaugural Frisco Bowl on Dec. 20 (8 p.m. ET, ESPN).

Interim head coach Jeff Traylor garnered significant support inside the locker room to take over on a full-time basis, so it will be interesting to see if Dykes works to keep the former Texas high school coach on staff, perhaps in an offensive coordinator capacity.

Report: Former Stanford QB Tavita Pritchard named Cardinal offensive coordinator

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It can be argued Tavita Pritchard started the current era of Stanford football. Trailing 23-17 with 48 seconds left, it was Pritchard that hit Mark Bradford for a 10-yard touchdown to push the Cardinal past No. 2 USC for a 24-23 win in 2007, at the time the largest point-spread upset in college football history and kickstarting the Jim HarbaughDavid Shaw era that continues today.

And now it will be Pritchard’s job to keep the ball he first pushed way back when rolling.

According to Bruce Feldman of Sports Illustrated, Pritchard will be named Stanford’s offensive coordinator.

Still only 30, Pritchard graduated from Stanford in 2009, but he never really left the Stanford football program. He volunteered with the coaching staff in 2010, began working with the Cardinal defense in 2011 and was promoted to the full-time coaching staff in 2013, working with the running backs.

Pritchard was moved to quarterbacks and wide receivers in 2014 and has remained there the past four seasons, but is now in line to take over the entire offense with offensive coordinator Mike Bloomgren now the head coach at Rice.

Led by Doak Walker Award winner Bryce Love, Stanford concluded the regular season ranked 32nd in rushing, 61st in passing efficiency, 19th in yards per play and 39th in scoring at 32.0 points per game. The 13th-ranked and Pac-12 North champion Cardinal will meet No. 15 TCU in the Alamo Bowl on Dec. 28 (9 p.m. ET, ESPN).