Duck Duck Loose! Oregon Football Next to Fall?
This years College Football season may be the most anticipated season upcoming with the realization of shorten or no seasons with the NBA/NFL lockouts. Last year national football champion the “Auburn Tigers” dealt with controversy surrounding Heisman Trophy winning quarterback and NFL’s #1 pick Cam Newton. His journey of being kicked out of Florida for stealing a laptop, followed by his decommittment to Mississippi State then signing with Auburn out of Junior College.
Ducks” are now in the news, and for far worst. Will Lyles, owner of his own national scouting service is under investigation with the NCAA for his involvement with getting kids to sign with Oregon.
Lyles now told Yahoo! Sports in case you missed it in a July 1st article, that University of Oregon coach Chip Kelly personally approved a controversial $25,000 fee that sparked an ongoing NCAA investigation and was in constant contact as Lyles provided the Ducks with recruiting assistance that may have violated NCAA rules.
In a wide-ranging, multi-day interview, Lyles said Kelly “scrambled” in late February and asked Lyles to submit retroactive player profiles to justify the $25,000 payment to his company, Lyles insists Oregon did not make a direct request or payment to steer recruits to Eugene.
However, he now says Oregon did not pay him for his work as a traditional scout, but for his influence with top recruits and their families and his ability to usher prospects through the signing and eligibility process. That dual role as mentor to prospects and paid contractor to Oregon is believed to be a focus of the NCAA probe.
Here are some key quotes and/or key points of the case:
“I look back at it now and they paid for what they saw as my access and influence with recruits,”
“The service I provided went beyond what a scouting service should … I made a mistake and I’m big enough of a man to admit I was wrong.”
Lyles said he had provided scouting reports verbally in frequent calls with Oregon coaches.
“They said they just needed anything,” Lyles said of the embarrassingly thin recruiting profiles that Oregon made public earlier this month. “They asked for last-minute [stuff]. So I gave them last-minute [stuff] … I gave them, like, old stuff that I still had on my computer because I never thought that stuff would see the light of day.”
• In 2007, Lyles counseled the family of current Ducks’ star LaMichael James on how to avoid a Texas standardized test required for high school graduation. James had yet to pass the math portion, putting his college eligibility in jeopardy. Lyles suggested James transfer for the final semester of his senior year to a high school in Arkansas where no standardized test is required. James did and later signed with Oregon. According to Lyles, Kelly, then the Ducks’ offensive coordinator, praised the transfer as a great idea.
Lyles said his relationship with Seastrunk began in 2008, during the summer before the player’s junior year in high school. The two met at a 7-on-7 camp at Texas A&M. Seastrunk was a heralded, future five-star recruit from Temple, a small city in the central part of the state.
Lyles said Seastrunk was seeking the guidance of an adult figure. His father was not in his life and his mother, Evelyn, had court-documented legal trouble during his youth, forcing him to live for long stretches with his grandparents.
Lache Seastrunk mother wanted his son to attend LSU, but Seastrunk had his grandmother sign his “Letter of Intend” to Oregon.
This case is not solved, but one thing for sure if the majority of these facts are accurate, Oregon’s goose is cooked. In comparison to the USC, Ohio State, and UNC cases, Chip Kelly is in direct contact with Lyles and given that it is Oregon, many wanting to see them fall may raise the stakes. Oregon is not a traditional power, the USC, Ohio St., Texas type of programs cannot be happy with the success of Oregon. The school is well funded through Nike, between the facilities and uniforms Nike is a solid recruiting tool. USC cannot be happy to see another program dominant the Pac-10 (now Pac-12) and most importantly Texas coming off a 5-7 losing season with no bowl game, but seeing Texas kids playing for Oregon in the national championship could not have sat well with native Texans. The state of Texas loves it high school football and take pride in college teams. If anything Oregon has learned one important thing. “DON’T MESS WITH TEXAS!”