Oregon may learn its fate from the NCAA in advance of the 2013 season.
Oregon and former coach Chip Kelly appeared before the NCAA's committee on infractions (COI) last Friday, according to an SI.com report.
SI.com's Thayer Evans reported that Kelly said Oregon used Willie Lyles and Houston-based Complete Scouting Services "the same way other schools do."
Last week, Oregon acknowledged major NCAA violations in connection with recruiting and proposed a two-year probation with the loss of one scholarship in each of the next three years, according to documents released by the school. Those documents, which were part of an abortive attempt for Oregon to negotiate a summary judgment with the NCAA, also stated that the NCAA enforcement staff had not found Oregon guilty of a lack of institutional control or unethical conduct.
That doesn't mean the COI won't -- and those documents were months old -- but those are the two most worrisome charges, which tend to lead to the most severe penalties.
The NCAA began looking into possible violations following reports about payments Oregon made to recruiting services, including a $25,000 payment to Lyles and Complete Scouting Services in 2010. Lyles had connections with Oregon recruits.
When the COI rules, Oregon will have the option to appeal. If the Ducks opt to go that direction, that could extend the process through the 2013 season.
The quote attributed to Kelly is meaningful. Oregon wasn't the only school that used Lyles, who was termed a "booster" by the NCAA. That complicates the NCAA's position, particularly with the Ducks football program operating at this time under vague rules about recruiting services.
Oregon's athletic department released a statement after the SI report.
“Regardless of when or where the hearing occurs, review is ongoing until the NCAA Committee in Infractions issues its final report,” it said. “The integrity of the process and our continued full cooperation with the NCAA prohibits us from publicly discussing the specifics of this matter.”