Are the Oregon Ducks about to violate Oregon's landmark minority coaches law?

Kari Chisholm FacebookTwitterWebsite

After last night's Fiesta Bowl victory - and an impressive victory it was - the rumor mill cranked into high gear. 

It appears that head coach Chip Kelly will be interviewing with at least 3 NFL teams today, in Phoenix. He's losing no time in capitalizing on four straight BCS bowl appearances - dismaying Duck fans everywhere. 

Unnamed sources are also telling multiple media outlets that, should Kelly leave, the university would immediately name offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich as his successor. From a football standpoint, this makes sense - the Ducks have been an offensive powerhouse and Helfrich's been Kelly's right-hand man all four years. 

That would be a violation of state law. 

You see, Oregon has a landmark state law - modeled on the NFL's "Rooney Rule" - that requires that universities interview and consider minority coaches. 

Now, it's true that the Rooney Rule has led to a number of pro-forma interviews over the years. But even that process has value, since it forces teams to build short lists of qualified minority coaches - and, in the NFL, has led to a large number of black head coaches. 

And of course, it's far better when minority coaches get actual and due consideration. 

The Oregon Ducks should follow Oregon state law. Mark Helfrich may be the right pick in the end, but to hear inside sources prejudging the outcome and short-circuiting the process is disappointing. 

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