The National Collegiate Athletic Association’s 27-month-long investigation into improper recruiting at the University of Oregon came to a close Wednesday, with the NCAA finding that the institution and its former head football coach had failed to monitor the program. The sanctions were lighter than some expected, after a the lengthier-than-usual process prompted speculation that Oregon might get hammered and Coach Chip Kelly left this year to lead the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles. By doing so, he avoided the 18-month show cause order that the NCAA announced Wednesday, which would have hindered his ability to be hired at another college.
The university used a recruiting service provider (which in theory are supposed merely to evaluate athletes' talent and report back) “who became a representative of the university’s athletic interests," the NCAA said in its public infractions report. The recruiter provided prospects with impermissible benefits including cash and lodging, and provided staff members with information beyond what recruiting services typically deliver. Further, non-coaching staff asked the recruiter to have prospects contact them and had frequent communication with recruits, against NCAA rules. At one point, the university paid the recruiting service $25,000 for scouting reports it never received.
Penalties (which were almost entirely self-imposed by the university) include three years’ probation, during which time the university may not subscribe to recruiting services and will lose three football scholarships, and a reduction in football prospect evaluation days and visits.