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Loose lips mean violation.

Byline: Rob Moseley The Register-Guard

The University of Oregon's athletic department will self-report a violation of NCAA rules stemming from comments made by football coach Chip Kelly to UO coach-turned-broadcaster Mike Bellotti before national signing day.

Coaches are barred from commenting publicly on recruits until letters of intent have been submitted, which this year took place on Feb. 1. Bellotti acknowledged during an ESPNU telecast that morning that he and Kelly had discussed defensive lineman Arik Armstead and running back Byron Marshall the day before.

Armstead, signed as a defensive lineman by Oregon, was considered the top offensive line recruit in the nation this year by some scouting services, prompting other members of an ESPNU panel to question his future position with the Ducks.

Bellotti, however, said that "Arik Armstead is going to play defense; Chip Kelly told me that yesterday."

Bellotti, Kelly's predecessor as UO football coach and later Oregon's athletic director before leaving for ESPN, also noted that Kelly "loves Byron Marshall."

Their reported discussion would violate NCAA Bylaw 13.10.2, which states in part that, before receiving a signed letter of intent, "the institution may not comment generally about the prospective student-athlete's ability or the contribution that the prospective student-athlete might make to the institution's team."

UO executive assistant athletic director for compliance Bill Clever said Thursday that Oregon had determined after consulting with the Pac-12 Conference that a violation would be self-reported to the NCAA.

Violations of Bylaw 13.10.2, deemed minor among the myriad ways schools can run afoul of NCAA rules, are fairly common based on national reporting. Georgia also self-reported a violation stemming from signing day this year, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported, when coach Mark Richt commented to ESPN about a player after the recruit's televised commitment to the Bulldogs but before his signed letter of intent had been submitted.

In another recent, well-publicized case, Oregon's Rose Bowl opponent, Wisconsin, ran afoul of the rule last year when receiver Nick Toon acknowledged in a television interview that quarterback Russell Wilson had visited campus while researching a transfer destination. Wilson ultimately signed with the Badgers.

Violations of Bylaw 13.10.2 aren't generally serious enough to affect a player's eligibility.

USC was involved in a similar situation this year, when ESPN reporter Shelley Smith said during a telecast that USC coach Lane Kiffin texted her the morning of signing day saying the Trojans "need to get" a particular recruit. Kiffin's text identified the recruit only by his first name, Nelson, but Smith speculated on the air he was referring to Nelson Agholor, a receiver from Florida who did commit to and sign with USC later that day.

Asked Thursday about the situation and whether the Trojans would report a violation to the NCAA, USC spokesman Tim Tessalone wrote in an e-mail that "we're aware, but we never comment on these things."

Oregon State coach Mike Riley was guilty of a similar violation on signing day this year, when he mentioned by name a recruit who ultimately signed elsewhere. The Beavers planned to report that incident to the NCAA, according to the Corvallis Gazette-Times.
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Title Annotation:Football Oregon; Oregon self-reports after Mike Bellotti recounts a conversation about recruits with Chip Kelly
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Feb 17, 2012
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