Yesterday Oregon received its sanctions for recruiting violations committed under Chip Kelly that involved using a street agent by the name of Willie Lyles to influence top recruits to take their talents to Eugene. Oregon claimed that it had paid Lyles $25,000 for "national recruiting services" (in other words, to be a scout), which is completely legal. However, that wasn't the extent of what he was doing -- his scouting reports were more or less bogus. Instead, Lyles was "influencing players towards Oregon", which is completely illegal.
Punishments handed out didn't really affect anyone still affiliated with the program -- Head Coach Chip Kelly has moved on to the Philadelphia Eagles, LaMichael James has moved on and played for the 49ers in this year's Super Bowl, and Lache Seastrunk has transferred on to Baylor. In reality, the program got off with a light slap on the wrist. They've only been disciplined with one scholarship reduction over the next three years, they've lost a few evaluation days, and they can't use recruiting services any more for the next three years.
This is just another in a line of NCAA investigations that ended with a lot of folks scratching their heads on how the punishments were determined. Our stupid violations & sanctions aside, it seems like "the time" doesn't have much to do with "the crime" for others. Some of Ohio State's players were receiving benefits out the wazoo, but those players still got to play in the bowl game directly afterwards. Penn State got enormous, program-crippling penalties for things not particularly within the scope of the NCAA. UNC committed massive academic fraud and lost one year of postseason eligibility and 15 scholarships. Miami allowed booster Nevin Shapiro to treat their players like professional celebrities, and probably has every reason to get the death penalty when their sanctions are announced in the coming weeks. All the while, countless schools have self-reported recruiting violations and gotten off with a firm finger-wagging.
I'm starting to get the feeling that the NCAA dishes out penalties a lot more like the guys in South Park's version of the Treasury department (reference video below) than they do with actual logic and reasoning. Unfortunately all cases are different, so there's no good way of determining what penalties will look like prior to actual violations occurring. However, Oregon is just one more case of a seemingly random punishment for the crime.
Did the crime and punishment match for Oregon? Should they have gotten more sanctions? Less? Here's your cue to sound off, Jackets fans.