University of Oregon formally accused of violating NCAA rules

University of Oregon formally accused of violating NCAA rules

Read the documents released into NCAA investigation into UofO (pdf) 

PORTLAND, Ore. – The University of Oregon has been officially accused of violating NCAA rules by paying for recruiting services it didn’t receive, according to a draft report released to KATU News Friday afternoon.

The university has known about the findings of NCAA investigators for two and a half months but didn't reveal them until KATU News requested the documents through a public records request.

The documents reveal the Ducks are also accused of having an extra coach engaged in recruiting.

The NCAA accuses the Ducks for paying for three scouting services that "did not conform to NCAA legislation" that went on for three years; the NCAA calls into question payments totaling $45,245; and the documents say for two years the Ducks "exceeded the permissible limit on the number of coaches by one engaged in recruiting."

The documents also say "athletics administrators ... failed to monitor the information provided by recruiting services ..."

A lot of information was removed from the documents for privacy reasons.

The NCAA began investigating the Ducks football program almost exactly one year ago.

It was originally looking at why the university paid $25,000 to a Texas man named Willie Lyles who ran a recruiting information service and had a close relationship with former prized Ducks' recruit, Lache Seastrunk.

There're also questions about Lyles’ relationship with former star running back LaMichael James.

The NCAA said the university chose an investigation process where it doesn’t fight the allegations in the draft report.

The university or any coach or staff member named in the documents has 90 days to refute what they say and ask for a hearing within that three-month period. The case would be sent to the NCAA's Committee on Infractions.

That committee is the judge and jury. It decides if the university did anything wrong and if it should be punished and to what degree.

According to the NCAA, the Committee on Infractions meeting would happen in a matter of weeks after the April 1 date.

The NCAA says the university is cooperating and admitting it broke the rules.

After the documents were released, UofO Athletics Director Rob Mullens said in a statement that the school is continuing to cooperate with the NCAA’s investigation and stressed the documents are only a draft.

"The University of Oregon remains committed to holding itself and individuals associated with the University accountable to the highest standards," he wrote in a statement.

Today's original story:

PORTLAND, Ore. - Documents related to the NCAA investigation into the University of Oregon are expected to be released this afternoon.

The school is releasing the documents from the NCAA almost a month after a request from KATU News On Your Side investigators.

University of Oregon officials said the delay in releasing the documents, titled "Proposed Findings," was due to a review by the university’s legal team.

The NCAA began an investigation into the Oregon football program almost exactly one year ago.

They are looking at why the university paid $25,000 to a Texas man named Willie Lyles, who ran a recruiting information service, and had a close relationship with a former prized Ducks recruit, Lache Seastrunk.

Seastrunk has left the team and never played a down for the Ducks.

There are also questions about Lyle’s relationship with former star running back LaMichael James.

According to NCAA criteria, the documents indicate the University of Oregon chose an investigation process where they don't fight the allegations in what is known as a "Summary Disposition" where the NCAA sends the university a “draft report” of allegations.

KATU News attempted to get the university to release the documents before national letter of intent signing day, which was February 1, when football recruits decide in writing where they intend to go to school.

The document is the official word from the NCAA regarding what rules it believes the university violated, if any. It follows a Notice of Inquiry issued in September to the university, indicating the NCAA was officially investigating.

KATU News talked with Stacey Osburn, Associate Director of Public and Media Relations at the NCAA, who wouldn’t comment directly on the investigation into the University of Oregon, but discussed what happens next in cases like this.

“If the school is trying to opt for a more streamlined process, they will then look at the documents and see if they agree with all of its contents, including the facts presented in the case, including the findings of violations,” Osburn said. “And if so, they will enter that streamlined process and the case would then go before an independent body, the Committee on Infractions, to determine what violations  took place and what the penalty should be.”

A source tells KATU News one letter is dated from mid-December and the other is from February 1. 

The second date is important because that determines when the next step will occur in the investigative process. Osburn said  “the school has approximately 90 days to respond to the notice of allegations, sent by the enforcement staff, and at that point the date would be set for the Committee on Infractions to consider the case.”

According to Osburn, any sanctions against the team would be revealed in weeks to months after the case is reviewed by the Committee on Infractions.

Despite the no-fight nature of the case, Oregon officials, coaches, or other staff members can still object to what is in the letters.  “They would have the opportunity to speak directly to the committee,” Osburn said.

The school could say “why they do not agree with the facts that are presented or, the findings of violations that are presented.”

Osburn said that Oregon’s decision from the start to not fight the allegations essentially means “they are agreeing to both the facts presented for the case and also the allegations of what possible violations took place.”

Osburn said that the investigators do not decide what penalties, if any, Oregon would face. That job lies with the Committee of Infractions.

“The Committee on Infractions has a list of available penalties, and then they are charged with looking at the facts of the case and making sure that the penalties list what occurred in the situation, and removing a competitive advantage that was gained,” Osburn said.