EUGENE, Ore. - I was on vacation in Hawaii when I heard about Cliff Harris being cited for driving 118 miles an hour on Interstate 5 north of Eugene.
The first thing I wondered was, "What kind of car was he driving?"
The 2011 Nissan Altima, as it turns out, was rented by a university employee.
And there's where the rubber meets the road, both literally and figuratively. This incident is sure to broaden the scope of the ongoing NCAA investigation into Oregon football.
Imagine you're on the case of looking into possible improper payments by the University of Oregon to several recruiting/scouting services.
The fact that Oregon paid one man $25,000 for a service that typically costs a fraction of that looks bad, and in fact, could be bad news for the Ducks. Given what has gone down with Ohio State and Terrelle Pryor the last few months, this looks worse.
If you're that NCAA investigator, you may be booking a few more flights and spending plenty more nights in Eugene hotels before the digging is done.
And that's what the NCAA will do. Dig. And dig deep.
The whole "where there's smoke, there's fire" thing applies in these situations, and they usually wind up in flames before someone breaks out the fire extinguisher.
Many questions remain.
- Why did the woman hand over the keys to a car she rented and for which she was likely ultimately responsible per the rental agreement?
- Why was Harris even driving with a suspended license?
- And the big one: is renting cars for athletes a common practice inside the UO athletic department?
Harris' penchant for speed is well documented.
He loves going fast, especially when fielding a punt with a well-blocked return out in front of him.
If the NCAA finds he has received improper benefits, he could be going nowhere fast - and he could be taking the Ducks with him.
Tom Ward is the KVAL Sports Director