Some say the end is near.
Some love to say the NCAA is going to destroy Oregon.
There have been an unlimited number of rumors circulating in recent weeks regarding the future of the Oregon football program. Speaking of the future, the recruiting class has also been the subject of endless conjecture. Some say that the class is too small for a top-10 program to have at this point of the recruiting cycle.
Others say that the Ducks are preparing for the hammer to come down from the NCAA as a result of their lengthy investigation into the Ducks' recruitment of former running back Lache Seastrunk.
Who is correct?
Let's take a look at the scenarios and take a shot at finding the truth.
On possible sanctions: According to a report by Yahoo! Sports, the Ducks were informed last week that their attempt to resolve their issues with the NCAA through a summary disposition was futile and that they are due for a hearing with the NCAA's committee on infractions sometime next year.
That could mean that the Ducks tried to get off easy and the NCAA took offense to their suggestion. It could also mean that the NCAA is searching for a unique penalty after finding out about the Ducks' payment to Texas-based scouting service director Willie Lyles.
The truth is, it is probably a mix of the two and the NCAA needs time to further evaluate its options. The Ducks got caught but they have also been out in front of everything with documents to try and justify the $25,000 check that was issued from the school.
We won't know until the time comes. What we do know is that it will make for some tense moments for Oregon fans, administrators, and ...
Chip Kelly: After nearly taking his considerable coaching talent to the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers last offseason, Kelly's name has surfaced as a candidate for nearly every college and NFL opening in the past couple of months. Sure, Kelly could be ready to bail if he feels the impending hammer coming from the NCAA. Many like to paint Kelly -- known as a brash, quick-talking coach -- as someone who would run when faced with major adversity. A closer look at Kelly's history dealing with uncomfortable situations would quickly dispel any such notion.
Kelly could just be tired of the college game and want the challenge -- and the money -- that the game's highest level would provide.
The recruiting class: The Ducks have a history of slow starts to their recruiting classes, but with the end of December approaching, calling it a slow start would be ridiculous. That being said, it has always been assumed that the Ducks would take anywhere between 16-20 recruits during the 2013 recruiting cycle. The commitment athlete Danny Mattingly (Spokane, Wash./Mead) on Sunday, the Ducks now have three commitments in the last 10 days, pushing their total to 13. With signing day just six weeks away and a good shot at a number of top recruits, the Ducks seem to be right on track.
The Ducks are loaded with young talent that will keep them near the top for a couple years, regardless of what happens with Kelly or the NCAA. They only lose a couple handfuls worth of seniors after the Tostito's Fiesta Bowl and don't have room for a monster class. This fact could also play into the next theory being tossed around.
Could the Ducks be keeping the numbers down on purpose in an effort to get out in front of possible scholarship reductions? They could be, but they feel as if their dealings with the NCAA have been honest and it doesn't seem like a likely scenario.
The big finish: In each of the last two recruiting cycles, the Ducks have landed huge commitments during the final month of the signing period. They have hosted recruits still committed to other schools and convinced them to jump ship in order to sign with the Ducks. They have also won some big battles fought up until the day the pen met the paper. The Ducks have become the most trendy program in the country and are reaping the benefits of it on the recruiting trail. At this point -- combined with the spots available -- the fact that they are seemingly on pace for their target number of signees makes this the most likely scenario.
There are many possible scenarios that could be playing out behind the scenes but until signing day, it is likely best to withhold any judgment. The final size of the class and any comments from the coaching staff could be very telling.