NCAA labels Chip Kelly a cheater

June, 26, 2013
6/26/13
12:49
PM ET
I know that the vast majority of Philadelphia Eagles fans won't care. I know that all you care about with regard to Chip Kelly is what kind of head coach he's going to be in the NFL, and that whatever he did while coaching the University of Oregon matters as little to you as whether he cheated on a sixth-grade math test. I get it. But Kelly's in the news today, and I'm writing about him because call me old-fashioned but I think adults who don't care about right versus wrong should be called out for it when possible.

And that's what the NCAA has done with its decision to impose an 18-month show-cause penalty on Kelly for recruiting violations at Oregon. Rather than punish the kids he left behind with a postseason ban, the NCAA is focusing the punishment on the coach who ran the program. Any college who wants to hire Kelly in the next 18 months will have to go before the NCAA and offer a detailed explanation as to why they should be allowed to do so.

[+] EnlargeChip Kelly
Howard Smith/USA TODAY SportsThe NCAA released a report that found Chip Kelly and Oregon failed to monitor the football program.
Slap on the wrist, you say. Irrelevant due to the time frame. No way Kelly's going to be fired after one year in Philadelphia, and the odds of him hating NFL life so much that he wants to go back to college in the next year and a half are slim. And all of that may be true.

But this is an 18-month penalty whose effects could last longer than its term. What it does to Kelly is label him as a cheater, and whether it's 12 months, 24 months or five years from now, if Kelly ends up wanting to get back into college coaching, you'd better believe this will stick to him and make a school or two think twice about whether they want him to run their program. Oh, he's a good coach, and smart, and he'd be able to get a job. But there probably would be jobs he'd want and couldn't get as a result of this, and that's fair. If you cheat, there should be consequences.

So yeah, I know you probably don't care if you're an Eagles fan. And if Kelly hits it big in the NFL, no one will have reason to remember this. But don't come at me insisting he didn't have embarrassing personal reasons to leave Oregon, because he obviously did. And if you're making grand, optimistic assumptions about his level of commitment to his new job and whether you can trust what he says, that's your right, but consider yourself warned.

And if you happen to be the kind of fan who cares what kind of people operate and represent your team... well, now you have a little more information on which you base your opinion about this one, don't you?

Dan Graziano

ESPN New York Giants reporter

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