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.