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Oregon Is Handed Two-Year Probation

The football program won't lose scholarships and remains eligible for bowl games despite the recruiting violations by an assistant coach.

June 24, 2004|Steve Henson | Times Staff Writer

The NCAA put the Oregon football program on probation for two years Wednesday for violations involving the recruitment of College of the Canyons running back J.J. Arrington in January 2003.

Oregon reported the violations and agreed with the sanctions. The Ducks do not lose any scholarships and remain eligible for bowl games, the NCAA said.

"We're trying to win the right way, and we're not going to cheat," Coach Mike Bellotti said. "I feel very bad about this because it happened under my watch."

Oregon was in a battle with California for Arrington's services at the time of the violations. On the last night a junior college player could sign, Arrington told Oregon assistant Gary Campbell that he would sign a letter of intent.

However, the midnight deadline passed and Arrington still had not signed. Furthermore, Arrington told Campbell that he had changed his mind and wanted to attend California. Campbell went to the hotel where Arrington was staying, and the player forged his father's signature and falsified the time on the letter of intent.

Oregon released Arrington upon discovering the violations. Campbell, who has been an Oregon assistant for 20 years, was suspended for one week without pay and was not allowed to recruit off-campus for one year.

The NCAA resolved the case through its "summary disposition process," which is used when the enforcement staff, school and individuals involved agree to the facts of the infraction.

Arrington enrolled at Cal, where he will be a senior in the fall. He rushed for 607 yards and five touchdowns last season.

"Obviously, this was a serious error in judgment, one that assistant coach Gary Campbell is very forthright about," Bellotti said.

"I think he went to visit this young man thinking he was going to get a signed, valid letter, and when he did not, I won't say he panicked, but he made a serious error in judgment."

Athletic Director Bill Moos defended the program, saying officials were quick to report the violation.

"We're very proud of the fact we have not had a major NCAA violation in, I believe, 20 years," he said. "So we take this very seriously."

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Associated Press contributed to this report.

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