Chip Kelly Can Still Help Oregon
With the failure of Oregon and the NCAA enforcement staff to come to a summary disposition agreement that satisfied the Committee on Infractions, the Ducks are headed for a hearing. That raises the question of whether former Oregon, now Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly will come to the Committee on Infractions hearing. Kelly’s short comments about the Oregon investigation suggest he might:
“I am aware of the recent reports and of the ongoing investigation being conducted by the NCAA and the University of Oregon. While at Oregon, I know we were fully cooperative with all aspects of the investigation and I will continue to contribute in any way that I can. But until the NCAA rules on the matter, I will have no further comment.”
If Kelly really wanted to help Oregon’s football program, his best contribution would be to stop cooperating.
Kelly would be expected to show up at the hearing, which might even have already happened. Not only was he the head coach at the time of the violations, but he is almost certainly considered an at-risk person since he is likely charged with the failure to monitor the football program in Finding 6 of the summary disposition.
If Kelly shows up, he will get grilled by a Committee on Infractions which has already rejected an agreement that was very favorable to both himself and Oregon. Coaches in general perform poorly in front of the COI, and this type of a hearing does not seem like something in Kelly’s particular wheelhouse. The COI could hammer Kelly on his relationship with Lyles and may pounce on any slip up to read more into the case than the enforcement staff has.
If Kelly refuses to show up, the COI may take out its frustration on him. That could lead to a show-cause order, even the sort of general show-cause orders requiring a school that wanted to hire Kelly to come before the COI. But Kelly’s NFL career will likely cover even an absurdly long show-cause order in this case, say five years. Figure two or three years at least as head coach of the Eagles, then another three or so as offensive coordinator for another NFL team(s). He would be able to come back to college with no restrictions and a good justification for why he got the show-cause in the first place.
In exchange, Kelly deprives the Committee on Infractions of an easy target. They would be left with the enforcement staff, which so far has been in agreement with Oregon on much of the case, and Oregon’s better prepared president, AD, compliance staff, and legal counsel. That is a much better group to count on when Oregon’s goal is to come out of the hearing with a result as close to the summary disposition agreement as possible.