Former Oregon quarterback Jeremiah Masoli has broken his seven-month public silence.
In an article on SI.com that was appeared amid reports that he has been admitted to graduate school at the University of Mississippi, Masoli goes into detail about his troubled past, proclaiming that although he's made bad decisions at times he is not a criminal.
Masoli, who has not spoken with The Oregonian or other local reporters since the immediate aftermath of the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1, claims he has had the misfortune of being in the wrong place at the wrong time with both the Jan. 24 burglary of a Eugene fraternity that led to his misdemeanor guilty plea in March, along with a robbery in high school that led to his stay in a California juvenile detention center.
In the article Masoli says he didn't steal anything from the Sigma Alpha Epsilon house in January. He doesn't deny he was at the fraternity that night, but pegs the theft squarely on former teammate Garret Embry, who pleaded guilty at the same time Masoli did. What got Masoli in trouble from the January incident, he says in the article, was his repeated lies to police and to Oregon coach Chip Kelly about his involvement in the incident.
"I just didn't want to affiliate myself with anything like robbery or anything that had to do with that because I had been through it all already," he says, referencing the high school case. "I had been through that whole ordeal already."
To coincide with the Sports Illustrated article, Masoli, with the help of the public relations Sitrick and Co., launched a promotional website, jeremiahmasoli.net. On the front page of the site, Masoli opens with an apology and an explanation of his past.
"I made a few very poor decisions in the past year, and I apologize to my family, friends and fans for them," Masoli writes. "But I am not the person who has been portrayed in many media stories."
Masoli continues: "The Sports Illustrated story, I hope, will help set the record straight. I am not a thief nor a thug. The people who know me best know that is the truth.
"I have completed my studies toward earning an undergraduate degree from the University of Oregon. I love playing football and want to continue to play. I'm still trying to figure out where that might be.
"Lastly, I want to thank my family, who I love very much. They have shown great support and forgiveness for the mistakes I made. I do not ever want to let them down again."
Calls left to Masoli's representative with the PR firm, Glenn Bunting, were not returned.
As for Masoli's status with Mississippi, no official announcements have been made. The Oregonian's calls to Mississippi officials were unreturned.
Oregon coach Chip Kelly, appearing at Pac-10 media day at the Rose Bowl, the site of Masoli's final game as a Duck, was guarded on the status of his former quarterback and his apparent move to Mississippi. He did confirm, though, that he and Rebels coach Houston Nutt have talked.
"That's between him and me," Kelly said when asked what he told Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt.
In order for Masoli to play immediately at Mississippi, the former Heisman Trophy candidate must have a waiver request sent to and approved by Oregon, in adherence with the NCAA graduate transfer rule.
An NCAA official told The Oregonian Thursday afternoon that no waiver request had been submitted yet.
The rule allows for a student to enroll in a graduate program at a different university and play immediately as long as that graduate program isn't provided by the former university.
-- The Oregonian's John Hunt contributed to this report from Pasadena, Calif.
-- Tyson Alger