When Yahoo! Sports reported last December that Oregon’s bid for a summary disposition with the NCAA failed, it was believed that the Ducks would face a hearing in front of the Committee on Infractions at some point in the spring. The exact date, though, wasn’t clear.
According to Sports Illustrated‘s Thayer Evans, the hearing took place in Dallas last Friday. Among those in attendance was former head coach Chip Kelly, now with the Philadelphia Eagles, who maintained that Willie Lyles’ scouting service was used “the same way other schools do.” A decision on any possible sanctions is said to come within the next 60 to 90 days, per Evans.
The reported date of the hearing would make sense given the timeframe previously given by Yahoo!, but Oregon has been consistent with an elaborate “no comment” statement issued later Wednesday afternoon:
“Regardless of when or where the hearing occurs, review is ongoing until the NCAA Committee in Infractions issues its final report,” the statement reads via the Eugene Register-Guard. “The integrity of the process and our continued full cooperation with the NCAA prohibits us from publicly discussing the specifics of this matter.”
Last week, documents released through freedom of information requests revealed the NCAA and Oregon agreed that “major violations” occurred under Kelly regarding the program’s use of Lyles’ scouting service. However, the documents stated there was “no finding of lack of institutional control and no finding of unethical conduct.” Though UO’s summary disposition fell through and therefore its contents are not necessarily binding, it’s believed any sanctions against the Ducks could be less severe than originally imagined as a result of that statement.
Assuming the COI is already in the process of formulating its decision, of course.
Oregon touched the ball 15 times in its 41-24 win over Colorado on Saturday night. Jeff Lockie played seven of them, including the first. Taylor Alie played eight.
As long as Vernon Adams nurses his broken finger, this appears to be the plan for the Ducks.
“They’d both done enough good things in practice last week to merit playing,” head coach Mark Helfrich told the Oregonian. “We just felt looking at the game plan we could parcel out aspects with each.”
“Of course you want to get into a better rhythm but that’s how it goes,” Lockie said. “We’re just going to play the best we can and as long as we’re winning games, there’s no problem with me.”
Lockie completed 8-of-11 throws for 54 yards with an interception while rushing five times for 18 yards. Alie connected on 4-of-9 throws for 83 yards and a touchdown while adding 22 yards on five carries. Not quite Marcus Mariota numbers from either signal caller.
“It’ll just depend on the game plan,” Helfrich said of Alie and Lockie. “I think those guys they have differences. There are some strengths and weaknesses to different areas of their game and so we’ll think about that going forward of just how the Washington State game plan comes out.”
With Oregon playing Washington and Washington State (combined Pac-12 wins thus far: zero) before a tough closing stretch, Helfrich and company have time to alternate signal callers.
The polls are meaningless. Especially any poll that isn’t the College Football Playoff top 25 and even then, as the TCU learned late last season, even the penultimate ranking is as meaningless as the paper they’re metaphorically written on.
Still, they’re catnip to college football fans and observers. Place them in front of us and we can’t help but gnaw on them.
And with that said, a bit of milestone was reached in Sunday’s Associated Press Top 25, as the SEC was completely shut out of the top five.
That group breaks down as follows:
- Ohio State
- Michigan State
An SEC free top five hasn’t happened in nearly five full years; October 10, 2010 was the last time such a thing occurred. Oddly enough, two of the same five culprits occupied that ranking as well:
- Ohio State
- Boise State
Underscoring the lesson of the first paragraph, eventual national champion Auburn checked in at No. 6. Those Tigers moved up a spot the following week and never looked back.
None of this means anything at all, until it does. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have some fun along the way.