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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Flying coach from Eugene to Indianapolis

Chip Kelly, the head coach of the Oregon Ducks football team, has recently found himself in a little bit of a precarious position. If you're reading this blog, you probably already know that, but just to give you a brief background on the whole thing, let's just say that Oregon paid for a recruiting service that did less scouting than it did flat out delivering guys to play for them. The Yahoo! report that began all this basically pointed out how this recruiting service, called CSS and ran by a man named Willie Lyles, was influential in the signing of a recruit to Oregon.

So Chip Kelly finds himself in a mess because this recruiting service he bought was blatantly purchased to influence recruits. Oregon requested no written information from Lyles until they were already in hot water, while LSU and Cal both received written information and about $19k-20k less than Oregon paid. In a nutshell, Oregon did wrong, they know it and the NCAA is going to hit them with sanctions...we assume.

But that's why I'm writing this post. At this point, it's all speculation that the NCAA will find true fault with Lyles and Oregon. After all, the Cam Newton thing looked like a slam dunk, but it's nine months later and we're still speculating on Auburn. Think about that. There's been enough time to create a human, and the NCAA still has no idea what to do with Auburn, if anything. On the flip side, the Ohio State stuff is a for sure slam dunk and no word from anyone in Indianapolis. One could assume that the NCAA is investigating to see how far down the rabbit hole goes before they begin formal proceedings, but at this juncture, is it too much to ask that we hear SOMETHING from them on the matter?

Sorry to give you guys another long post, but I can't help myself. I just don't understand the point of people calling for Chip Kelly's head. First of all, college football is slowly becoming an AAU clone and it's happening through 7-on-7 camps (go to the 5:00 mark to see how I bring this all full circle). These scouting services are gaining in popularity for a reason and it's because coaches can't be everywhere. Remember when football season happened during the fall? That's no longer the case. Recruiting is a 24/7 sport and it's getting out of hand.

But, I digress. My problem with recruiting is another post for another day. The point of this post is to bring the all important question of "why should Oregon fear anything the NCAA is potentially bringing to their doorstep?" Obviously it's going to take years for the NCAA to have any findings on the matter whatsoever, and Oregon signed Kelly to a huge deal last year that includes a large buyout. I'm sure that's going to be null and void if it's a coach-caused reason that leads to the firing, but why get rid of a coach that just got you to a national championship? Does Oregon really think that they're going to get anyone to put together a capable football team the next few years while they wait on the NCAA to possibly find some kind of problem?

The answer is no. It's no on all counts. Chip Kelly and Oregon should weather the storm. They should both wait it out and take whatever bruises the NCAA MIGHT give them in 2-5 years. Think about how long it took for the NCAA to figure out the Reggie Bush thing. Isn't it worth five years of winning football to put up with 2-3 years of probation? The NCAA isn't going to ask for the money Oregon makes during that time, and no one's going to turn them away from a potential bowl appearance.

As of this moment, no information suggests that Kelly paid a recruit directly, or that Lyles paid a recruit for anything other than "guidance." So where's the true fault in all this? Is it on Kelly for bending the rules or the NCAA for being such a joke that everyone is three steps ahead of them? The NCAA lady in the ESPN video I linked acknowledged that the NCAA is just now beginning to scratch the surface of what 7-on-7 is doing. At this rate, by the time they get that figured out, the next big thing will have already had a two year head start.

Truthfully, with the talk last year of super conferences, does anyone think that the NCAA will be the same organization in two years that it is right now? With the BCS ruling college football while not being affiliated with the NCAA, what's keeping schools from breaking with the NCAA and just doing their own thing? The money isn't coming from the boys in Indianapolis so why should the loyalty be there?

Ohio State did the right thing by firing Tressel, but there's nothing that suggests Oregon should follow suit at this moment. They should weather the storm and when the going gets tough, they should pull the trigger at the last moment. Just ask Pete Carroll, who's in dire shape in the NFL making tons of money, and would never be welcomed back into college football if that's what he chose to do.

Chip Kelly doesn't have my support, but why should I give the NCAA what they want and call for his firing? The NCAA is banking on public perception and Yahoo! to do all the heavy lifting for them. I think that's wrong. If they're understaffed; hire people. If they're inefficient; fire people. Right now, they're just a punchline to a joke told 2-5 years ago that wasn't funny.

Until next time kids.

Be safe.

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