Lost in the buzz of a fourth-straight BCS Bowl appearance, and Chip Kelly’s all but guaranteed departure to the NFL, is the possibility of NCAA sanctions casting a dark cloud over the University of Oregon football program.
The Oregon Ducks are under investigation by the NCAA for paying the sum of $25,000 to Willie Lyles, a third-party scouting director, for influence to former Ducks Lache Seastrunk and LaMichael James.
Lyles was paid the $25,000 not long after Seastrunk, a five-star prospect according to several recruiting services, signed with the Ducks in 2010, and he was claimed to have a mentorship to both James and Seastrunk.
Seastrunk has since left Oregon after a plummet down the depth chart and now plays for Baylor.
James is the Ducks' career rushing leader and now plays for the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers.
The university reached an impasse with the NCAA’s committee on infractions (COI) and the program will appear before the COI in spring.
At this point, no one is quite certain how severe the Duck’s punishment will be for their violations of recruiting, but if history has told us anything, it’s that Oregon could be facing severe penalties for the next several years.
Here are the worst case scenarios.