If new Eagles head coach Chip Kelly decides to return to coach college football in the next two seasons, he first has to jump some through NCAA hoops.
After more than two years of investigations, the association on Wednesday announced its sanctions against the University of Oregon and its former head football coach.
Oregon essentially received a slap on the wrist, avoiding a postseason ban and losing just a few scholarships. But the NCAA sanctioned Kelly with an 18-month show cause that decrees that he and the school that hires him must appear before the Committee on Infractions and agree to any further restrictions the association might impose.
“Now that the NCAA has concluded their investigation and penalized the University of Oregon and its football program, I want to apologize to the University of Oregon, all of its current and former players and their fans," Kelly said in a statement. "I accept my share of responsibility for the actions that led to the penalties. 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."
It’s unlikely that Kelly will return to college coaching within the next two seasons. He signed a five-year deal in January reportedly worth more than $6 million per year to coach the Eagles, despite initially spurning the Eagles to return to Oregon.
In his introductory press conference Jan. 17 at the NovaCare Complex, Kelly said he’s “all in” with the Eagles and wouldn’t bolt back to college after a couple of seasons.
“I think it was Cortez who burned the boats. I’ve burned the boats so I’m not going back,” he said, referencing the Spanish conquest of the Aztecs in the 1500s. “I’m in. I’m a NFL coach and this is where I want to be. If there was any indecision in terms of [not wanting to be in], I wouldn’t have made the jump. I made the jump and I’m here and I’m excited to be here.”
The NCAA, which has come down hard recently on other schools for various violations, opted against saddling Oregon with crippling sanctions. The investigation stemmed from Oregon’s $25,000 payment to Will Lyles, a middleman recruiter who helped steer high school recruits toward the school.
The association instead agreed with several of the school’s self-imposed penalties, which include a three-year probation period, a ban on the use of recruiting services, a disassociation of the recruiting service provider and a reduction of scholarships and evaluation days, according to an NCAA statement.
The investigation centered on Oregon’s use of a paid recruiter in 2008 who, according to the NCAA statement, “provided cash and free lodging to a prospect and engaged in impermissible calls and off-campus contacts with football prospects, their families and high school coaches.” The association also agreed with the school’s finding that Kelly and the University failed to monitor the football program.