Canzano: Oregon Ducks got played by Willie Taggart… and Phil Knight can’t be happy

Phil Knight has been around sports his entire life. He knows that you win some and that you lose some. But what Knight doesn’t everĀ like is getting played. And the University of Oregon and its No. 1 booster had just that happen in losing football coach Willie Taggart to Florida State.

Taggart is now an ex-Oregon coach.

OK to unbuckle?

Why the Ducks didn’t structure Taggart’s initial contract in a way that ensured that he wouldn’t easily use them as a stepping stoneĀ is puzzling. Knight can’t be happy about it. Athletic director Rob Mullens said on Tuesday of the Taggart defection, “I was disappointed. We sat down a year ago and we made a commitment to him, he made a commitment to us.

“We did everything to support our commitment. And I’m disappointed.”

The narrative will be that Taggart went 7-5 in his first season and he and his agent, Jimmy Sexton, baited Oregon into a bidding war with Florida State that resulted in a six-year, $30 million windfall. But the reality is, the Ducks didn’t do enough in structuring the original contract to protect themselves. That inept contract, and not a wonderful game of poker by Camp Taggart, is what allowed the Ducks to get leveraged.

Taggart is a mercenary. Look at his history. He’s qualified for four bowl games in his career, and only

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