NORMAN — The NCAA put Oregon football on probation Wednesday. But if you’re a Duck fan, don’t worry.
Though it will last three years, it means very little in real terms. There is no postseason ban. The program is losing only one scholarship for the next two years. There are some restrictions pertaining to how the Ducks go about recruiting, but it shouldn’t be too bothersome. Just more work for the compliance staff.
Oh, and the coach under whose watch it occurred must appeal his way back into college football, should he seek to return to it over the next 18 months. Of course, Chip Kelly is too busy laughing all the way to the bank as the new head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles to mind.
At least we can feel better knowing Kelly is choosing to “accept my share of responsibility for the actions that led to the penalties.”
Though it’s not clear how that acceptance amounts to anything more than issuing a statement claiming that acceptance. It’s a circular acceptance.
The hard part is figuring out what the NCAA might do to make it better.
It could come down much harder on the Ducks, but that tends to punish the innocent more than the guilty. It could levy a big fine on the program, seven figures perhaps, but that still leaves the guy under whose watch the violations occurred fairly untouched. That’s the way it goes when that guy flies the coup for the NFL riches.
The NCAA could begin the 18-month clock on Kelly the moment he tries to come back to collegiate athletics, but that’s probably bad legal pool, suspending punishment until it can really be delivered.
It’s enough to make you completely re-evaluate the way players are treated.