On Wednesday, when Yahoo! Sports broke the news that Oregon and the NCAA could not conclude Oregon’s investigation through summary disposition, I speculated it was the result of Oregon and the NCAA enforcement staff not coming to an agreement on the proposed findings and penalties. That was based on the fact that the most up-to-date documents released showed that the school and the NCAA staff were still debating the wording of at least one violation.
Today, Oregon’s athletic director Rob Mullens sent a letter to donors saying that was not the case:
The institution and the NCAA enforcement staff were able to agree on the substantive findings of the inquiry which resulted in the matter being presented for summary disposition. The agreed-upon findings and self-imposed penalties were submitted to the NCAA Committee on Infractions, which requested to discuss the matter in person.
For whatever reason, the Committee on Infractions was not satisfied with the agreement between the NCAA staff and Oregon. What is still not clear is if the COI disagreed with both the findings and penalties or just the penalties. In the latter case, an expedited rather than a full hearing takes place on just the issue of penalties. Mullens did not mention an expedited hearing, but that might have been beyond the scope of the letter.
The news that the Committee on Infractions rather than the enforcement staff was the hang-up is not good for Oregon, but just how bad it is remains to be seen. Given that this is the first big case under a revised bylaw, it might just be that the COI is unwilling to hand it off completely to the enforcement staff just yet.
On the other hand, the summary disposition agreement appears to not have included a bowl ban as part of Oregon’s proposed penalties. The fact that the Committee on Infractions said no to the proposed sanctions and/or the findings that supported them means a postseason ban could be back on the table as a penalty following a hearing.