Lache Seastrunk Granted Immunity for Willie Lyles Testimony on Tennessee Recruiting
The Willie Lyles Elite Scouting Services takes another turn, and the name being mentioned is the University of Tennessee of the SEC for the recruitment of Lache Seastrunk.
An NCAA finding of a major violation would be particularly troubling for Tennessee. The Volunteers athletic program was cited in August for “failure to monitor” when its men’s basketball program was placed on two years probation for a variety of major infractions under former coach Bruce Pearl.
In an apparent NCAA violation, then-Volunteers secondary coach Willie Mack Garza sent the money to one-time scout Will Lyles, who had paid for plane tickets for Seastrunk and his mother Evelyn. Garza, who joined Kiffin’s staff at USC in 2010, stepped down from his position with the Trojans in September citing “some personal issues unrelated to USC that I need to address.” His resignation came shortly after Lyles informed NCAA investigators in August of the transaction. Lyles said NCAA investigators were conducting a wide-ranging look into Tennessee recruiting practices
Lyles said he only agreed to speak to NCAA investigators if they guaranteed Seastrunk immunity from any penalties associated with this incident. Lyles said immunity was granted on the condition that both he and Seastrunk were completely honest and forthcoming (Lyles said Seastrunk has already spoken to the NCAA). He said the NCAA was already investigating Tennessee’s recruiting practices.
Lyles told Yahoo! Sports what he explained the NCAA: that Garza set up Seastrunk’s June 2009 unofficial visit through him, that Lyles paid $1,446.80 for the initial airline tickets for Lache and his mother to fly from Waco, Texas to Knoxville, Tenn., and that Garza later wired the money to Lyles.
“I wanted to make sure Lache would be fine, this isn’t about him,” said Lyles, who maintains a close relationship with the player. “It’s the NCAA’s rules and the schools not following them. During our meeting it became clear the NCAA already had knowledge of what was going on at Tennessee.”
Another major program is under the NCAA microscope for recruiting, and this time it affects the SEC power Tennessee. All of these investigations is creating a major black eye to college athletics. The problem is theirs six-degrees of separation, this isn’t one program doing wrong, in due time every program has a skeleton in the closet they want to keep hidden. Of course if the NCAA system was changed for the better of the kids, perhaps all of the recruiting scandals wouldn’t exist in the first place.