What Exactly Did Chip Kelly Do to Warrant NCAA Sanctions? Not Much

What Exactly Did Chip Kelly Do to Warrant NCAA Sanctions? Not Much

You no doubt have heard by now that the NCAA levied sanctions against the University of Oregon football program over recruiting violations between 2008 and 2011. You no doubt have heard this because the big story from the ruling locally was Eagles head coach Chip Kelly is prevented from returning to the Ducks or college football within 18 months of the penalty without first appealing to a Committee of Infractions – the so-called “show-cause penalty.”

It all sounds far worse than it actually is. For Oregon’s part, it’s nothing more than a slap on the wrist, or probation if you will. They lose one scholarship per year for each of the three years the violations occurred, which is a relatively small number. Plus, there was no bowl ban, and I don’t think three scholarships are going to derail that program.

As for Kelly, some might say an actual physical slap on the wrist actually would have been a stiffer penalty, as Jason B. did over at Bleeding Green Nation. The only way the show-cause penalty comes into play is if he quits the Eagles or is fired after one season. Seeing how much the organization wanted Kelly, they’ll definitely give him more than one year barring unforeseen and catastrophic circumstances. As for his running back to college, it could happen – as it did to Bobby Petrino with some years back – but Chip probably has too much pride for that. Even Steve Spurrier made it two seasons in the NFL.

So if Kelly does one day head back to college football with his tail between his legs, by then this whole thing will be behind him. Speaking of which, what is this whole thing about anyway? Recruiting violations is a vague term – that could be something as simple as sending too many text messages during the wrong time of year to a high school kid. They have some weird rules in that NCAA foosball.

Well, Chip didn’t really do anything at all. Apparently he wasn’t even directly involved with the violation that occurred. The coach’s only fault in this was his failure to monitor the activities of a staff member who improperly provided cash and lodging to recruits, which according to Ivan Maisel for ESPN.com, Kelly was unaware were taking place.

Chip Kelly met the NCAA announcement that it had banned him from college football for 18 months with characteristic straightforwardness. He didn't make excuses. He didn't blame someone else, even as the NCAA made clear that Kelly had been unaware that his staff had employed Willie Lyles in a manner not allowed by the NCAA manual.

As the NCAA made clear, Kelly committed none of the violations himself. His résumé may be smudged, but his hands are clean. Any athletic director who reads the infractions case will be able to go to his president and trustees and make a case for Kelly.

Maisel adds that Kelly accepts responsibility because, as the head coach put it himself while at Oregon years ago, “You can’t be a selective participant.” But as far as you or I or Ducks fans or the media or NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell should be concerned, Chip is not the person who did wrong here.

With those facts in mind, it’s probably safe to assume this so-called scandal is not the reason Kelly bolted for the NFL, as it seems unlikely the NCAA would have suspended him had he stayed based on the rest of the toothless penalties here. And no, it’s not something Goodell needs to look into much deeper and stir up trouble over for the Eagles. Some rules were broken at the college level, although not by Kelly specifically – at least not knowingly – but he cooperated, accepted responsibility, and punishment was handed down. Nothing to see here it seems.

>> Chip Kelly owns up to mistakes [ESPN]

Sixers-Warriors 5 things: At home, can Sixers hang with NBA's best again?

Sixers-Warriors 5 things: At home, can Sixers hang with NBA's best again?

The Sixers (22-36) host the NBA-best Golden State Warriors (49-9) at the Wells Fargo Center (7 p.m./CSN, CSNPhilly.com and the NBC Sports app).

Let's take a closer look at the matchup:

1. Bummer at the buzzer
Apparently one good last-second shot deserves another.

The Sixers stormed back from a double-digit deficit in the fourth quarter against the New York Knicks on Saturday. Jahlil Okafor capped off his monster night with what appeared to be the game-winner at the time when he scored in the lane with nine seconds remaining.

That was until Carmelo Anthony drained a clutch jumper over Robert Covington with 0.3 ticks left on the clock to give the Knicks a 110-109 victory. Call it payback for T.J. McConnell's buzzer-beater against New York last month.

While the Sixers didn't get the win, they had to be pleased with some of the efforts they received on the second night of a back-to-back set. 

Okafor finished with 28 points and 10 rebounds. Covington had 20 points and 10 rebounds, while Dario Saric added 19 points and 15 boards.

2. So much splashing
The Sixers will need those type of performances and then some if they hope to keep up with this potent Warriors team.

In case you've been lost at sea since the summer, former league MVP Kevin Durant bolted Oklahoma City for Golden State in free agency to turn the "Splash Brothers" of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson into an entire splash family.

Already dominant offensively, the Warriors have been even better this season with Durant. They rank No. 1 in a slew of offensive categories, including points per game (118.2), field goal percentage (50.0), assists per game (31.0), fastbreak points per game (23.5), offensive rating (114.1) and true shooting percentage (60.4).

If that weren't enough, Durant's length has also impacted the Warriors' defense too. They are first in the league in steals (9.6), blocks (6.7) and points off turnovers (19.2) per game.

Simply put, the Warriors are scary good. 

3. The wild card
Every family has that one person that you're just not sure about at times. They can make gatherings the best night ever or a downright miserable experience.

Enter Draymond Green. 

Green has been on the miserable side of the Warriors' gatherings lately. He shot 1 of 10 for five points and was benched for long stretches in Golden State's win over Brooklyn on Saturday. In the game prior to that against the L.A. Clippers, he picked up a technical foul, trash talked Paul Pierce and went to his preferred kick move on Blake Griffin.

Overall, Green has been his usual solid self on the court. He's averaging 10.0 points, 8.1 rebounds and 7.1 assists a night while providing lockdown defense.

The Sixers are fully aware of Green's versatility. The veteran forward averaged a triple-double against them in the two meetings last season with 11.5 points, 12.0 rebounds and 10.0 assists.

It will be interesting to see Green lock horns all game with the surging Saric.

4. Injuries
Joel Embiid (knee), Tiago Splitter (calf), Ben Simmons (foot) Jerryd Bayless (wrist) are out for the Sixers.

The Warriors have no players listed on the injury report.

5. This and that
• The Sixers have lost six straight games to the Warriors.

• With their 112-95 win over the Nets on Saturday, the Warriors became the first team to clinch a playoff berth. It marked the earliest a team has clinched a postseason spot since the 1985-86 Boston Celtics.

• Covington is averaging 17.0 points and 7.6 rebounds per game in February.

• Thompson averaged 36.0 points on 54.7 percent shooting from the field and 45.8 percent from three-point range against the Sixers last season.

Brandon Manning suspended 2 games for hit on Penguins' Jake Guentzel

Brandon Manning suspended 2 games for hit on Penguins' Jake Guentzel

VOORHEES, N.J. -- Flyers defenseman Brandon Manning was suspended two games for his illegal hit to Pittsburgh's Jake Guentzel during Saturday's 4-2 loss in the Stadium Series game at Heinz Field.
 
Manning's shoulder made contact with Guentzel's head.
 
Manning wasn't surprised and even admitted to reporters that he fully expected "one or two" games because he hit a player who didn't have control of the puck yet.
 
Strangely, there was no penalty on the play for interference, yet the NHL's explanation on Monday afternoon specifically cited "interference" as the reason for the suspension.
 
This is Manning's first NHL suspension.
 
The hearing was conducted on the phone Monday with Stephane Quintal, senior vice-president of NHL Player Safety. Manning will forfeit $10,833.34 in salary.
 
"It was late," Manning said of the hit. "He didn't touch the puck after it hit his skate. Which I thought he was going to do. They do their whole breakdown by time frame."
 
Manning said he caught Guentzel's shoulder first, then his head "on the follow through" because Guentzel is shorter than him.  The 6-foot-1 Manning has two inches on Guentzel.
 
Guentzel, who had two assists in the game, was not injured.
 
"Looking at it, [the hit] is a little late," Manning admitted. "I thought he was going to touch the puck. Usually, when a puck hits your skate, you pick it up, and he kinda left it ... The hard part is, there was no penalty called on it."
 
Manning said he had to make a hit or face an odd-man rush.
 
"There were two players there and if I don't play my guy there, it’s a 3-on-1 the other way," he said. "You're giving up scoring chances. Fortunately, he wasn't hurt. He finished the game and that's always the good thing."
 
Mark Streit, sitting on the bench at the time, said he saw the hit and was shocked at the suspension.
 
"It was a great hit," Streit said. "You look at the replay and everything looks different. You can slow down every hit and talk about it. I guess it was a little late …"
 
Manning's suspension likely means Michael Del Zotto will play against Colorado on Tuesday.
 
Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said Manning has been a "solid piece" for the club this season.
 
"He brings that physical edge, he's been reliable, and he's been a staple for our lineup," Hakstol said. "That's a hole we'll have to fill over next couple of games here."
 
Manning will also miss Thursday's game against Florida.