Is Chip Kelly in danger of losing his job?
The news for Oregon got worse last week with a Yahoo Sports' report that contained details about Willie Lyles and his relationship with Chip Kelly. The Ducks have yet to receive a letter of inquiry, but they are under investigation from the NCAA. With potential sanctions hanging over the program, what should Oregon do with Kelly? Athlon Sports' editors debate:
Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
A coach coming off an appearance in the national title game is usually not associated with the hot seat. However, that’s exactly the position Chip Kelly is in. Oregon has to wonder if Kelly is damaged goods at this point. Has the school and his reputation taken a hit that’s too much to overcome? Lyles may not have steered players to Oregon, but there’s no question he was a middleman of some sorts. Is that enough to be qualified as a booster? Lyles wanted to be a legitimate scouting service, but everything points to Oregon using him for the influence he had over the recruits. If Lyles details everything he told to Yahoo Sports to the NCAA, then Kelly and Oregon is in big trouble. A lot of questions exist and we’ve yet to hear Oregon’s full side of the story. There’s a mountain of evidence building against Kelly – just like we saw at Ohio State with Jim Tressel. Considering the investigation may not come to an end until after this year, Kelly may keep his job through the 2011 season. However, it’s fair to wonder who will be roaming the sidelines in Eugene in 2012 if the NCAA drops the hammer on Oregon.
Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch)
It's difficult to envision a scenario in which Kelly keeps his job at Oregon. No two cases are the same, but this one looks and feels a lot like the Jim Tressel/Ohio State situation — a highly successful head coach is caught trying to cover up some improprieties in his program. Ohio State stuck with its coach before the evidence became overwhelming. How long will Oregon do the same? My guess is not very long. I would be surprised if Kelly is coaching the Ducks in 2011.
Patrick Snow (@AthlonSnowman)
The recent reports of Chip Kelly's relationship with the "recruiting service" of Willie Lyles - who certainly sounds much more like a street agent than a football scout - makes the future of the Ducks coach look very tenuous. Obviously, the Oregon administration will have to do its own internal investigation to determine what Kelly orchestrated and/or knew about in regards to the recruitment of LaMichael James, Lache Seastrunk and others. While it's never good to have the NCAA on your campus, it's especially bad timing for the Ducks with the recent crackdowns on programs like USC and Ohio State. Oregon may decide to defend Kelly through the NCAA process, but it's hard to see him remaining as the coach with the mountain of damning evidence that has surfaced recently.
Braden Gall (@AthlonBraden)
There might not be a quicker fall from BCS title game grace than Chip Kelly. However, the NCAA is the slowest moving sports governing body and will likely not have a distinct ruling in a timely fashion. If I was running the ship at Oregon, I allow Kelly and his staff to prepare for the 2011 season just like any other. But you can bet that my rolodex has doubled in size in the last two weeks. I would go go into a holding pattern for the time being, but I would also have Plan B, C and D ready to go should something more break - and be prepared to take harsh (if needed) and decisive action.
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