On Thursday, after obtaining Oregon's notice of allegations, The Register-Guard exposed the possibility of complications that could come Oregon's way in dealing with the NCAA. As The Register-Guard simply stated:
The notice of allegations does note that Oregon is subject to penalties under repeat violator rules. The most recent allegations began within five years of the Ducks’ last major violation, the J.J. Arrington letter-of-intent scandal, which was resolved in 2004.
For folks hoping that the Ducks get slammed, that is good news. Harsh penalties are on the table, and perhaps the NCAA uses the repeat violator clause as a means to truly hinder the Ducks' program.
From the Los Angeles Times, here is the incident that serves as the window to the Ducks' increased penalties:
Oregon was in a battle with California for Arrington's services at the time of the violations. On the last night a junior college player could sign, Arrington told Oregon assistant Gary Campbell that he would sign a letter of intent.
However, the midnight deadline passed and Arrington still had not signed. Furthermore, Arrington told Campbell that he had changed his mind and wanted to attend California. Campbell went to the hotel where Arrington was staying, and the player forged his father's signature and falsified the time on the letter of intent.
Oregon released Arrington upon discovering the violations. Campbell, who has been an Oregon assistant for 20 years, was suspended for one week without pay and was not allowed to recruit off-campus for one year.
This was an incident that was not big enough to raise many eyebrows, and more importantly, not enough to bring serious NCAA trouble to Eugene. Now, as Oregon's time before the judge quickly approaches, it has to wonder if something deemed small, almost a decade ago, is going to trigger severe penalties from the enforcement committee.
Oregon does have hope. One of the more prominent "repeat violator" cases in recent history, the Alabama Crimson Tide program, ultimately came away only lightly dinged by the NCAA. While sitting on the repeat offender list following 1995 and 2002 sanctions, the 2009 Crimson Tide athletic department was only forced to vacate wins, extend probation and be listed on the repeat violator list for its infamous textbook scandal.
Three national titles later and still listed on the repeat violator list, Alabama is no worse for the wear.
Oregon's issues are bigger than textbooks, but the nature and relative newness of several of its violations make this case unique. There is more than just Will Lyles acting as a middle man for the coaching staff with recruits. The issues surrounding scouting services and acquiring information on prospects loom large as well.
The possibility for more trouble is real. Yet, in the coming sanctions, Oregon fans should be more worried about the NCAA looking to flex its muscle on rules about scouting services, street agents and phone-call rules than repeat violator status.