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.

Ohio State OL Matthew Burrell transferring from Buckeyes

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For the third time this offseason, Ohio State has lost an offensive lineman to transfer.

The latest to leave the trenches in Columbus is Matthew Burrell (pictured, right), with the rising redshirt junior taking to Instagram to announce that, “after prayer and thought, I will be transferring from OSU.” While no specific reason for the decision to transfer was given, the lineman’s placement on the depth chart likely played a significant role.

A four-star member of the Buckeyes’ 2015 recruiting class, Burrell was rated as the No. 7 guard in the country and the No. 4 player at any position in the state of Virginia.  The past two seasons, the lineman had seen action in a total of 25 games, including 12 this past season.

In addition to Burrell, OSU offensive linemen Jack Wohlabaugh (HERE) and Kevin Feder (HERE) have all left the program since the end of the 2017 regular season.

UCF police go all in on national championship campaign

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Look, I get it. I know exactly how this game is played. They do it so that people like me will write about it and people like you will read it. It’s all a ploy to make everyone on campus puff their chests out just a little bit further and to keep their name on our lips just a little bit longer.

But doggone if it isn’t working.

More than three months after claiming its 2017 national championship, UCF has found a way to keep itself relevant, this time by having the campus police department get in on the act.

AD Danny White already committed to pay national championship bonuses for coaches who are no longer in the school’s employ, but that’s not even the end of this. There’s still a ring ceremony that is (or at least should) be forthcoming, and the banner reveal at Spectrum Stadium that’s surely coming at the 2018 season opener.

If you’re going to go all in on a publicity campaign, it’s best to go all the way in. As UCF has done here.

NCAA tables proposal that would allow players to play in up to four games and retain redshirt

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The NCAA’s Division I Council on Wednesday tabled a proposal that would allow players to compete in up to four games and retain their redshirts. Championed by AFCA executive director Todd Berry, the rule was touted as a necessary change in an era where teams play 14- and 15-game seasons.

The rule would allow redshirting players to replace injured players without personal cost to their careers. Presently, a coach with dwindling numbers at a given position is put in between the rock and the hard place of burning an innocent player’s redshirt or putting players at risk of injury through overuse.

Here’s how the NCAA presented the news:

The Council tabled a proposal that would allow football student-athletes to participate in up to four games per year without using a season of competition. Proponents argue that late-season injuries and other factors often require student-athletes who hadn’t played all season to burn a year of eligibility for a small number of games. Others wonder whether the proposal could be applied to other sports, as well, whether the number of games in the proposal is appropriate, and whether the timing of the four games matters.

It is not clear what opposition exists to the rule, though Big 12 commissioner, Council member and noted fear-mongerer Bob Bowlsby posited in January that teams could, for some unexplained reason, hold their best players back until the final four games of the season.

“I think it’s got a lot of merit,” he said, “but there are some hooks in it. I don’t know how comfortable people are with, suddenly in the last three games and a bowl game, you go from being a guy who’s on the scout team to [a prominent role].”

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The proposal is not all dead, as Miracle Max would say. The Council will now turn the tabled proposal over to the Football Oversight and Student-Athlete Experience Committees for discussion and feedback solicitation.

Former four-star Miami WR Dionte Mullins transfers to FCS Alabama State

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A little over five months after leaving a Power Five program, Dionte Mullins has stepped down a rung or two on the college football ladder.

A tweet earlier this week indicated that Mullins is now a member of the Alabama State football program.  Now, the wide receiver is listed on the FCS program’s official website as one of its 2017-18 football signees and is shown on the Hornets’ online roster.

In mid-November, Miami announced that Mullins “is leaving the football program to pursue more playing time opportunities at another program.”

As the Hornets play at the FCS level, Mullins will be eligible to play immediately in 2018.  Including the upcoming season, the receiver will have two years of eligibility remaining as well as a redshirt season to use if necessary.

A four-star member of the Hurricanes’ 2016 recruiting class, Mullins was rated as the No. 50 receiver in the country and the No. 37 player at any position in the state of Florida.  After playing in three games as a true freshman, Mullins had seen action in all eight games last season before leaving. He finished his UM career with four catches for 53 yards, all of which came this season.