Oregon Paid $25,000 to Willie Lyles for Scouting Services, Appears Guilty
If you look back at programs that lacked tradition but gained instant success in collegiate athletics, you’ll often find a trace of violations committed during recruitment. Just look at Baylor and Tennessee basketball recently — neither program had success, yet both have done well the last few years, and both programs also have been involved in recruiting violations. Oregon is in a similar spot in football — they’ve enjoyed some success over the years, but they’ve never been a consistent national power until the last two years. They’ve also never really been a program that could pry top-level recruits on a national level. But lately they’ve been able to do it, and the recent investigation of the school’s relationship with Willie Lyles leaves a trail indicating why that may have been possible.
Yahoo! Sports reported that Oregon had paid Lyles’ Houston-based Complete Scouting Services $25,000 a few weeks after highly-touted Texas running back recruit Lache Seastrunk (pronounced Lake) signed with the school. Though it’s completely ordinary for schools like Oregon to pay national scouting services for video and contact information of players, it usually doesn’t cost more than $5,000 or so. A $25,000 payment seems exorbitant, and it looks like the scouting service Lyles was a part of is a business front for steering players to the school.
Now here’s the kicker from The Oregonian as pointed out by Sports by Brooks “if you ask [football coach Chip] Kelly what was provided he’ll tell you the Ducks received contact information for players — ‘names and phone numbers.'”
That doesn’t really match up with what was listed on the invoice regarding services rendered by Lyles’ scouting service:
Nobody denies that Oregon has had immense success lately and that they’ve built a strong program. Nobody denies that recruiting on a national level is vital to their success. But the question is whether or not they paid people close to valuable recruits to try and send players to their college.
Lyles is said to be a street agent who has a personal relationship with Lache’s mother. A $25,000 payment to his scouting company certainly raises questions and makes Oregon appear guilty, even if the payment is legitimate in the eyes of the NCAA.