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April 26, 2004

Last Hurrah For Unchecked Recruiting Expenditures?

FROM STATE PUBLIC RECORDS AND POSTSCRIPT INTERVIEWS come accounts of lavishness, sumptuousness and coordinated hospitality. The University of Oregon pulled out all the stops during a football recruiting extravaganza to win over the stomachs, hearts and minds of blue chip football recruits.

The total cost to transport and feed feed feed twenty five burly high school recruits? $140,875. And that was for just one weekend in January.

With a glitzy Autzen Stadium, a $3.2 million locker room and a deep-pocketed benefactor in Nike’s Phil Knight, Oregon could well be the poster school for the ballyhooed arms race.

Add recruiting largesse to Oregon’s contribution to the arms race. The total football recruiting budget this year was $600,000, almost double the budget of three years ago.

Oregon AD Bill Moos unapologetically stated, “We can afford it.”

Well good for you Mr. Moos! Are you related to George Steinbrenner maybe?

Here stands the NCAA, poised to clamp down hard on recruiting rules as an offshoot of Colorado’s alleged recruiting excesses. Meanwhile, Oregon is spending money in a sort of last minute flurry, before restrictions take effect.

The following are the main components of Oregon’s recruiting weekend expenditures:

Four chartered jets: $109,727

Commercial airfare: $5641

Lodging at the Hilton: $3391 ($135 per night)

Friday dinner for 76: $5475 ($72 per person)

Saturday breakfast for 96: $3940 ($41 per person)

Saturday lunch for 74: $1485 ($20 per person)

Saturday dinner for 120: $3706 ($31 per person)

Sunday breakfast for 74: $2650 ($36 per person)

Of the 25 recruits brought in for this excessive weekend, 12 later signed letters of intent to play for the Ducks.

Was it worth it? The profligate Mr. Moos probably thinks so.

Meanwhile, the NCAA recruiting task force is drawing a bead on precisely these over-the-top expenditures.

Their days would seem to be numbered.

(this 303 word excerpt—with attendant commentary—has been culled from a 2588 word article in The Oregonian of 4-18-04)