EUGENE - The long-awaited NCAA ruling into the recruiting infractions by the University of Oregon was finally released Wednesday. The result was perhaps better than some expected.
The Ducks have been assessed a one scholarship reduction over the next two seasons (meaning a cut from 85 scholarships to 84), three-year probation and limitations to their recruitment of prospective student athletes.
Most importantly, the Ducks will see no restriction to post-season play or forfeiture of past games.
"We pledged our full cooperation from the beginning. We worked tirelessly to get to the facts and we worked cooperatively. We're glad that the facts are out today and that we can finally talk about it," Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens said at a press conference Wednesday.
Schools are given 15 days to appeal the NCAA's findings following the dissemination of penalties, but Mullens says the school will not seek such process out.
Maybe most intriguingly, former head coach Chip Kelly was issued an 18-month show-cause penalty, meaning the former Oregon is not employable by an NCAA school until after the 2014 season.
"He was a great coach. He was committed to compliance. I think that will be his legacy," Mullens said.
"As I have I stated before, the NCAA investigation and subsequent ruling had no impact on my decision to leave Oregon for Philadelphia. I have also maintained throughout that I had every intention to cooperate with the NCAA's investigation, which I did," Kelly said in a statement.
For the next three recruiting cycles the Ducks will also be limited in signing, down from 25 to 24. The number of official campus visits and staff evaluation days over that period have also been reduced and a ban on subscription recruiting services will be in place.
"Any time you lose the opportunity to have people visit your campus, particularly given what we have to showcase, it'll have an impact. You want to have the full complement of scholarships, even one matters," Mullens said of the penalties.
Today brings closure for a case that was 27 months in the making, dating back to a March 3 2011 Yahoo Sports story reporting UO's relationship with Willie Lyles, a talent evaluator from Texas who had been integral in the Ducks' recruiting for the past two cycles.
"The length of the process and the process itself had some punitive measures to it. In the end I don't think the facts tarnish anything," Mullens said.