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Suggesting Chip Kelly ‘ran away’ from UO is easy, but not necessarily right

Chip Kelly AP

As John summarized this morning, recently obtained documents show that Oregon and the NCAA have agreed that the university’s football program committed “several major violations” in its use of recruiting services over the past few years. The majority of the allegations are said to have occurred under former coach Chip Kelly, who left to become the coach of the Philadelphia Eagles in mid-January.

Now, Kelly’s former employer will carry on and is expected to appear in front of the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions at some point this spring, although exactly when has yet to be officially determined and/or announced. Such a timetable has given new life to accusation that Kelly got out of Dodge before he could personally be affected by whatever sanctions the NCAA hands down.

(UO has has already proposed two self-imposed sanctions: a two-year probation period and a reduction of one scholarship for each of the next three seasons. Additionally, the released docs say the NCAA’s enforcement staff made “no finding of lack of institutional control and no finding of unethical conduct”, suggesting potential penalties may not be as severe as initially thought.) 

The accusation is at least understandable when looking at things chronologically: Kelly leaves in January, one month after it was reported that a hearing with the COI was coming within the next several months; documents previously held by UO agree that major violations are at hand, though the definition of “major” is a wide brush by the NCAA’s older standards.

Therefore, it’s an easy accusation to make. But it’s not necessarily a correct one.

The idea that Kelly “ran away” from Oregon suggests he knows what’s coming and that simply isn’t close to being true. If it was, we should all be furious with Kelly for not disclosing the upcoming Powerball numbers.

Furthermore, it ignores the fact that he was reportedly thisclose to accepting the head coaching job with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers a year ago — while the Ducks were still under the NCAA microscope. Before departing for Philly, Kelly was in the middle of a window where he was one of the hottest coaching names in the country. If the opportunity wasn’t with the Bucs, it was the Eagles. If it wasn’t the Eagles, it would have been another NFL organization the following year (or the following months). As elements of the spread offense filter up into the pro game, so has the league’s interest in great offensive minds like Kelly.

And those great minds will eventually answer that call.

Yes, yes: the timing. But when was the timing ever going to be right for Kelly? Let’s say Kelly left for the Bucs last year. Would the criticism of his departure have been any less? What if he left a year from now while Oregon was serving its punishment?   Unless Kelly stuck around long enough for UO to repay its debt, chances are he would have been criticized for leaving — whenever it was. And he simply doesn’t owe that to the Ducks.

That’s not to say Kelly shouldn’t be accountable for something that happened on his watch. He should, and the fact that he won’t be is the easiest bridge to make between his departure and the upcoming hearing for Oregon. Kelly’s ability to leave and let others suffer the consequences of NCAA wrongdoing is, in itself, fundamentally wrong. Unfortunately, that’s an issue bigger than Kelly. Unless the NFL decides to take action similar to what it did with former Ohio State coach Jim Tressel – and those are two different situations as Tressel was already suspended five games before his resignation in 2011 – Kelly will be able to wash his hands of what happened at Oregon.

Does that need to change? Absolutely. Will it? Almost certainly not, save for extremely specific cases.

The fact that Kelly won’t face repercussions for what allegedly happened at Oregon makes him a target for speculation, but you can bet that Kelly would still make the decision to coach on Sundays even if he did.

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32 Responses to “Suggesting Chip Kelly ‘ran away’ from UO is easy, but not necessarily right”
  1. bucrightoff says: Apr 16, 2013 2:48 PM

    No, it’s pretty much 1000% correct. He got to leave a situation that appears heading south for a promotion and more money. Guy is a rat just like Carroll.

  2. alligatorsnapper says: Apr 16, 2013 2:52 PM

    It is good that Coach Chip Kelly could not have known that “major violations” would come down against Oregon. However, these “major violations” happened under his watch, under his leadership. If individual assistants committed them, they also should also be held responsible. If Kelly signed off on these actions, he should also be held responsible. Harry Truman said and posted on his desk, “The buck stops here.” Kelly is responsible.

    In previous stories on related topics, astute CFT posters have offered that penalties should follow the coaches. This would prevent coaches leaving one college program where they and their assistants collected a group of “major violations” and then go to another school, leaving their previous school to suffer all the consequences while the offending coach(es) suffer no penalty. It is something the NCAA needs to look at with an eye to make changes. The NCAA could even negotiate an agreement with the NFL.

    What can be done to Kelly who is now out of college football and working for the non-profit? corporation, the NFL? I say, nothing since there is no present agreement.

  3. MasMacho says: Apr 16, 2013 2:52 PM

    I disagree. He left in part because he wouldn’t be able to cheat any more – the gig was up. It may not have been about the penalties as you suggest, but when your recruiting pipeline dries up, it’s curtains in college football.

  4. mhalt99 says: Apr 16, 2013 3:05 PM

    it is good the ncaa is finally taking action, kelly should be held accountable for making billions of dollars off of these players backs………oh wait…the ncaa makes billions….what are they mad at? a few phone calls?

    Crack Baby Athletic Association!!!!!

  5. melkipershero says: Apr 16, 2013 3:11 PM

    He ran away 100%. He turned down the Browns and Eagles and said he was staying and then bolted not long after. Sadly, Id do the same.

  6. mrlaloosh says: Apr 16, 2013 3:25 PM

    Are all the PAC 12 coaches cheating slime balls? Probably .

  7. thegonz13 says: Apr 16, 2013 3:27 PM

    Actually, scurried away like a rat off the Titanic would be both appropriate and accurate.

  8. thefiesty1 says: Apr 16, 2013 3:46 PM

    How is he anymore/less guilty of doing the same thing that Carroll did at USC? They should BOTH pay a financial penalty for the wrongdoing under their watch. Not run off to a big fat contract in the pros.

  9. mogogo1 says: Apr 16, 2013 3:48 PM

    “If it was, we should all be furious with Kelly for not disclosing the upcoming Powerball numbers.”
    ______________

    What a dumb analogy. If he’d hacked the Powerball computer then he would know the numbers ahead of time… just like if he’d committed violations he’d have a really good idea that authorities were finding out about it.

    Are you seriously suggesting that a guy in Kelly’s position would have absolutely no idea that investigations were taking place? Because nobody would pick up the phone to warn him?

  10. normtide says: Apr 16, 2013 4:09 PM

    Anyone looking for “fairness” in this world will only find disappointment.

  11. palmbeachbuckeye says: Apr 16, 2013 4:38 PM

    Kelly got tipped off before he took the Tampa Bay job… so he came back to Oregon to try and win that National Title. Now he is leaving before the sanctions hit– and how he avoids a show clause is beyond me?? He will stay in the NFL 2-3 seasons until people forget about what he did in Oregon and then return to College and coach a high profile program looking for a turn-around (see Nick Saban minus the violations). He takes a break until the heat is off and draws and NFL salary while he is doing it… Smart guy with smart advisors. This guy is in NO WAY,shape or form and NFL coach.

  12. uscatjerseyshore says: Apr 16, 2013 4:44 PM

    bucrightoff says:Apr 16, 2013 2:48 PM

    No, it’s pretty much 1000% correct. He got to leave a situation that appears heading south for a promotion and more money. Guy is a rat just like Carroll.

    _________________________________

    There is a big difference here. Kelly personally approved the payments to Willie Lyles to get recruits to sign and play for Oregon. USC got sanctioned for not knowing Bush’s family was getting free rent from a wanna be agent. The agent was looking for Bush to leave USC for the NFL. Hard for all you USC haters to understand that.

  13. Deb says: Apr 16, 2013 4:55 PM

    Now that I’ve stopped gagging and sputtering to extinguish the bitter taste of “As elements of the spread offense filter up into the pro game” …

    Like you, Ben, I believe Kelly would have made his way into the pro coaching ranks regardless. But it’s still wrong to punish future students, players, and coaches of any program for infractions committed by those who went before. Achieving fairness isn’t easy, but it’s not impossible.

    College football is the only source of talent for the NFL. That gives the NCAA considerable negotiating power. While it might be unfair to Kelly or Carroll’s new teams to suspend them for past indiscretions, it certainly wouldn’t be a hardship to the Eagles or Seahawks to issue a high six-figure fine. If NCAA coaches knew they could lose that kind of money–even after moving to the NFL–they might be more fastidious about sticking to the rules. The same is true for players like Reggie Bush. The current system of punishing the innocent while the guilty move onward and upward is ridiculous–and not much of a deterrent.

  14. mhalt99 says: Apr 16, 2013 4:56 PM

    mrlaloosh says: Are all the PAC 12 coaches cheating slime balls? Probably .

    I make a couple million dollars a year and my boss makes a few more million, I pay my workers absolutely zero and tell them that they are lucky to have a job as they are gaining valuable experience and have access to learn new skills…..as long as it doesn’t interfere with their primary duties of making me and my boss money…….who am I? a scumbag, yes…..but who else….

    I’m a DI top 50 college football coach!……or a sweatshop owner or a sr executive at foxconn

    oh and if I tell you to eat sht and like it I am of course from Oklahoma (not OSU, just OK)

  15. deadeye says: Apr 16, 2013 5:09 PM

    “Suggesting Chip Kelly ‘ran away’ from UO is easy, but not necessarily right”

    —————————————-

    It may not be necessarily right, but it’s not necessarily wrong either.

    The idea that he didn’t see any of this coming is laughable. He knows what he did or didn’t do, and he wasn’t going to stick around Oregon during the “consequence phase” of his tenure.

  16. ironman721 says: Apr 16, 2013 6:53 PM

    Yeah, he totally ran like a coward. Good luck in Philly. He’s going to need it!

  17. normtide says: Apr 16, 2013 7:05 PM

    These sweat shop analogies are idiotic. These kids are offered free college educations. The scholarships alone are worth six figures, not to mention the earning potential of having a degree from a major university. Also, the admiration from coeds that athletes generally receive. Plus the other perks D1 athletes get.

    While I back the stipend idea, I find the notion of student athletes being compared to slave labor asinine and foolish. Anyone making that argument has never had to repay student loans it work their way through school.

  18. oldforester says: Apr 16, 2013 7:20 PM

    I find it interesting that the person skating on this event is Mike Bellotti, Kelly’s predecessor as head coach and AD during the early part of this event in 2010. If nothing else he had a direct responsibility for mentoring Kelly about the ins and outs of being head coach and the nuances of recruiting. Why isn’t his head on the block? Because he works for ESPN and is now part of the establishment, the sports / industrial complex?

  19. barkleyblows says: Apr 16, 2013 7:46 PM

    Once a cheat always a cheat! This guy is a scumbag just like the rest. NCAA needs to ban cheating coaches already!

  20. thekatman says: Apr 16, 2013 8:54 PM

    uscatjerseyshore is absolutely correct. Kelly and Lache to leave TX for LA and finsih his senior high school year there, as to avoid having to take the Texas high school graduation exam.

    The whole smells of collusion, fasle statements by Oregon and Kelly. The evidence is so much more evident here, than anything that was used by the NCAA against USC, so much so that the NCAA had to make up evidence in order to santion “The Program” at USC.

    As for Oregon’s self-imposed a two-year probation period and a reduction of one scholarship for each of the next three seasons, that’s a joke. They’re using the old rule of one lost schollie per ineligible player per year for 3 years. If the NCAA actually went along with that mantra, USC would’ve only lost 1 schollie per year for 3 years, not 10 schollies per year…. so Duckies, be ready for some major penalties and sanctions. The evidence is there.
    Same for Miami…. too much evidence to ignore.

  21. manchestermiracle says: Apr 16, 2013 10:34 PM

    I agree the entire dynamic of the NCAA needs to change. While it would be nice to see coaches and administrators actually follow the rules in order to insure a level playing field, I find it difficult to feel much outrage over the cheating when the NCAA continues to assign the equivalent of the Keystone Kops to “investigate” alleged wrongdoing.

    The NCAA is its own worst enemy and, by its repeated incompetence, negatively impacts its own enforcement authority. No matter how guilty the perpetrator might be, a police force with conflict-of-interest and bumbling-investigations issues does no favors to those attempting to follow the law. You can’t insist someone clean up their house when your own looks like a crack den.

  22. huskerzfan says: Apr 16, 2013 11:14 PM

    @ mhalt99:

    it is good the ncaa is finally taking action, kelly should be held accountable for making billions of dollars off of these players backs………oh wait…the ncaa makes billions….what are they mad at? a few phone calls?

    Crack Baby Athletic Association!!!!!

    __________________________________

    It still amazes the naivete of fans that point the finger at the NCAA claiming they make billions off of the backs of college athletes.

    Especially college football players and the sport of college football that garners the lion’s share of monies in major collegiate athletics.

    How many times can it be stated before it takes hold?

    The NCAA doesn’t make a nickel off of FBS college football.

    You want to know the revenue of the NCAA? Here it is: http://www.ncaa.org/wps/wcm/connect/public/NCAA/Finances/Revenue

    There is not a nickel in their revenue stream that comes from FBS college football. All (meaning 100%) of the TV contracts, bowl revenue, and ticket sales of the games contested by FBS schools go directly into the hands of our precious Universities, Conferences, and Athletic Departmants.

    But hey, I know, it is much easier to point the finger at the big bad man in the suit laying down sanctions on teams that broke the rules in which each and every school has agreed to play under as being a member of the NCAA.

    Yea, I know, lets build a new NCAA with better and safer rules and we will run off into the sunset and everything about college sports will be all fine and dandy.

    What rules are they gonna have? Will we have people smart enough to actually make it any better? Will we have all 120+ schools in agreement? Or will we have the same problems we have now…, and maybe even worse?

    It completely amazes me that we all sit here and point the finger at the NCAA when the real problem resides at the school level. The very schools that formed the NCAA, gave them zero power to rule over them.

    When are we gonna see somebody step up and make a difference?

    I don’t have much hope. As long as football rakes it in, our schools have proven over the past 50+ years that money rules well before the equality they so rightfully wanted back in 1910 and then formed the NCAA.

    Yea, I know, I’m just crazy. Why shouldn’t our schools make us pay seat fees in the thousands, and ticket prices in hundreds per game to watch college athletes? Why not build skyboxes? It isn’t their fault, it is all at the foot of the NCAA.

    Right?

  23. billmead1976 says: Apr 17, 2013 1:57 AM

    More east coast bias and the institutionalized support of the SEC.

    Dirty “good ‘ol boy” programs from down south with get feather foot treatment with corrupt ncaa boneheads. That hypocrite Fat greaseball Paul Dee can burn in hell and the current regime that are trying to railroad the U can burn as well.

    Scam Newton, pay for play, all that stuff – do whatever you want in the SEC.

  24. mhalt99 says: Apr 17, 2013 11:41 AM

    huskerzfan

    we are using the term NCAA as an umbrella for all of the money that is being made off of the back of the revenue generating sports, most notably mens football and basketball. this includes what is made at the school level as well as the money that has been made at the bowl level, including, but not limited to the obscene salary of bowl officials who work for a few days to put on an event.

  25. packerbadger says: Apr 17, 2013 2:37 PM

    It waddles like a duck, it quacks like a duck, it flies away from a bad situation like a duck. I guess its a duck. Quaaaaaack!

  26. packerbadger says: Apr 17, 2013 2:40 PM

    When he gets booed out of Philly, he’ll have a nice fat head coaching job in the SEC where he’ll fit right in!

  27. packerbadger says: Apr 17, 2013 2:45 PM

    Deb:
    But it’s still wrong to punish future students, players, and coaches of any program for infractions committed by those who went before.
    =================================
    So, when someone commits murder or robs a bank, etc, they shouldn’t punish him/her because its not fair to the wife/husband and kids right? How about the scumbag coaches of USC, Oregon and the SEC not commit violations in the first place. At least USC is a good academic school.

  28. uscatjerseyshore says: Apr 18, 2013 1:30 AM

    Packerbadger – regarding your comment about USC coaches. There wasn’t any USC coaches involved…. and per the NCAA that was the problem (i.e. lack of institutional control).

    And the one coach the NCAA attempted to hang for not being aware (Todd McNair) is suing the NCAA for their malicious frameup.

  29. florida727 says: Apr 18, 2013 8:30 AM

    #katman, I agree with you. Oregon is trying to give the impression they’re accepting that they committed a wrongful act by “penalizing themselves”. What a joke. “Probation” is the politically correct way of slapping someone’s hand and saying, okay, we won’t do that again. ONE scholarship loss per year for three years? You won’t even miss the player that could have gotten it. Heck, you’re saving the university money! That ONE scholarship is the guy who doesn’t even have to take a shower after the game… BECAUSE HE HASN’T PLAYED! The NCAA will not accept those “self-imposed sanctions”. Why? Because they’re meaningless.

  30. packerbadger says: Apr 18, 2013 10:19 AM

    uscatjerseyshore says:Apr 18, 2013 1:30 AM

    Packerbadger – regarding your comment about USC coaches. There wasn’t any USC coaches involved…. and per the NCAA that was the problem (i.e. lack of institutional control).
    ==================================
    I thought coaches were part of the “institution.”

  31. thekatman says: Apr 18, 2013 10:42 AM

    Coaches are part of an LOI allegation, however, in the case of USC, the NCAA created a scapegoat in Todd McNair, the RB coach. Again, hence his ongoing lawsuit against the NCAA, which has been approved to proceed due to overwhelming evidence of fraud by the NCAA, Paul Dee led COI.

    With Oregon, the evidence is very clear that backs up LOI sanctions.

  32. uacatfan says: Apr 18, 2013 11:22 AM

    “Once a cheat always a cheat! This guy is a scumbag just like the rest. NCAA needs to ban cheating coaches already!”

    Actually, the NCAA should get tough. They should have all institutions agree to a policy, that is meted out. The violating institution pays as well as any university/ institution that hires or rehires the coach. That would stay on the books for life.

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