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Kelly Show-Cause Dumbest Sanction Ever

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By Jim Weber

If you haven’t heard by now, Oregon football got away with highway robbery for paying faux recruiting scout Willie Lyles $25,000 for influence over recruits and trying to cover it up.

Today, the NCAA released sanctions that amount to a whole lot of nothing, mostly notably no postseason ban and the loss of just one scholarship per year. Meanwhile, Ohio State got hit with a bowl ban over players pawning off memorabilia for tattoos and Pac-12 rival USC had a two-year bowl ban for the Reggie Bush scandal that was never directly tied to the university or football program. While the sanctions are a joke, I’m not incensed over the lack of punishment to the program since it would have hurt a lot of players and coaches who were not involved in the scandal.

The part that irks me? Chip Kelly, the former Ducks head coach who was behind the NCAA infractions and cover up, getting an 18-month show-cause penalty. Translation: An NCAA school would have to “show cause” to hire Kelly in the next year-and-a-half. In case you’ve been living under a rock, Kelly is currently in the NFL with the Philadelphia Eagles, where he is earning $32.5 million over five years.

That means the sanction would only actually affect Kelly if he’s fired after one year in Philadelphia or he decides he misses college football so much that he’s willing to walk away from the rest of the $26 million owed to him and return to campus. Since neither of those has any chance of happening, this has to be the single dumbest NCAA sanction ever.

You know what Kelly’s reaction to this “penalty” probably was?

Scrooge McDuck Swims in Money

Kelly should have been given the same five-year show-cause penalty that ex-Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel received for “Tattoogate” or the NCAA should have at least made the 18-month show-cause penalty active only once Kelly tries to return to college football.

This pointless and gutless sanction that has no actual repercussions is the equivalent of banning Oregon from:

Wearing the same uniforms for every game

Having ugly cheerleaders

Huddling on offense

Playing in the GoDaddy.com Bowl

Nonconference road games against FCS programs

Of all the times I’ve blasted the NCAA and Emmert, this is the most incensed I’ve ever been because of the complete sham that is Kelly’s penalty. I think it’s completely fair to wonder how much Emmert’s relationships with those at the University of Oregon - his last job was as the school president of Washington - and the power of Nike founder and Oregon super booster Phil Knight affected this pathetic ruling and the lame show-cause penalty in particular.

Because for a man who came into office talking big about cracking down on NCAA rule breakers and then hammered Penn State with a four-year bowl ban and $60-million fine last year over a criminal case that was technically out of the NCAA’s jurisdiction, this is a new low point in a terrible tenure as the NCAA’s president that shows what cowards the NCAA Committee on Infractions and Emmert truly are.

Jim Weber is the founder of Lost Lettermen. You can follow him on Twitter at @JimMWeber and @LostLettermen.

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