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Saturday's upset loss to Stanford not withstanding, Oregon coach Chip Kelly and his innovative offense have the Ducks in the national championship picture and Kelly being considered for NFL openings. He nearly made the jump last year, then pulled away from the Tampa Bay job at the 11th hour, but is again expected to be pursued by NFL teams. A looming NCAA investigation into the Oregon program could be a contributing factor in Kelly going through with the NFL move this time around.
The NCAA has been conducting a lengthy investigation into possible payments to intermediaries between recruits, and while the governing body has announced no timetable for any decisions, according to sources with knowledge of the situation the sanctions could be severe and a decision could be coming after the season. In recent months the NCAA has conducted interviews lasting six hours or more with “recruiting services” personnel connected to the program, and NFL executives see the situation as being similar to when Pete Carroll left USC to head to the Seahawks in 2010. Carroll bolted to Seattle with sanctions looming, and months later USC was hit with a two-year bowl ban and scholarship reductions that have plagued the program throughout Lane Kiffin's tenure. Carroll had interviewed for NFL jobs in previous years, most notably with the Dolphins and 49ers, only to remain in the college ranks, but finally left for Seattle at a time when the NCAA was getting close to leveling discipline against the program.
There is always the possibility that Nike tycoon and Oregon benefactor Phil Knight digs even deeper into his pockets to keep Kelly in the face of potential sanctions and controversy, but as we creep closer to the end of the season, possible suitors have become more convinced that Kelly is prepared to do more than just flirt with NFL teams this winter.
Miami is set to receive their LoA in 2-6 weeks I believe and then get sanctions probably around April. Was Oregon before or after them?
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