Some local University of Oregon football fans let out a sigh of relief after hearing the NCAA's announcement Wednesday morning.
The Division I Committee on Infractions found former head coach Chip Kelly and the university failed to monitor the program. The NCAA will strip the Ducks of a scholarship in each of the next two seasons and place the program on probation for three years as punishment for Oregon's recruiting violations.
"Today is the end of a long nightmare," Medford attorney Jim Wickre said. "It seemed to have gone on forever."
The Ducks avoided stiffer penalties, like a bowl ban.
"I'm just glad it's over and done with," Medford's Dan Westbrook. "Whatever the consequences are, it's done and over with and the program can put it behind them."
The loss of one scholarship offered per year was a self-imposed penalty that began last academic year.
"Mistakes were made, but Oregon took action to try to correct them," said Wickre, an Oregon graduate. "I think Oregon got what it deserved today as far the sanctions that were imposed. Our Husky friends would have liked something a lot harsher.
"The punishment was right. I made a prediction that was more severe: an additional year of probation and the loss of one more scholarship than what they ended up getting. Quite frankly, the only thing that surprised me was the 18-month show cause order on (former head coach) Chip Kelly, which won't affect us."
The Ducks may be hurt the most by a reduction of official paid football visits from 56 to 37 for the 2012-13, 2013-14 and 2014-15 academic years, Westbrook said.
Questions surrounding the program arose after reports of a 2010 payment of $25,000 to Willie Lyles and his Houston-based recruiting service, Complete Scouting Services. Lyles had a connection with an Oregon recruit.
The punishment issued by the NCAA to other schools — like Ohio State and USC — for other infractions has varied drastically, creating a murky picture of the NCAA's decision-making process, Westbrook said.
"I'm definitely glad that the punishment wasn't more severe than it was, but I also think being a college sports fan, it fits the grey area that these infractions fall under," said Westbrook, an Oregon graduate.
Simply put, the NCAA is inconsistent, said Brian Mosier, an Oregon season-ticket holder from Medford.
"That is the problem with the NCAA — the standards aren't the same," Mosier said. "There is no consistency to how they approach things.
"As much as we love college sports because of the purity of it, it's as big a business as any."
Several national media outlets did a poor job reporting on the Oregon infractions story and providing analysis, Mosier added.
"Listening to stuff this morning, ESPN goes back to Lyles, everyone keeps going back to Lyles," Mosier said. "It's an argument put to bed. It's been dead for a long time."
The announcement on Wednesday signaled the end of a big headache, Wickre said.
"What's great now is that Oregon Ducks fans can concentrate on football and what is happening on the football field," Wickre said.
Carl Moore, a former comedian from Virginia who lives and works in Medford, shares Wickre's optimism.
"I hope the team can move forward and the Ducks football program becomes even stronger," Moore said.
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