Blog Entry

No, Oregon did not give Seastrunk these Jordans

Posted on: July 6, 2011 12:44 am
Edited on: July 6, 2011 12:45 am

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Earlier today, a story in the Oregonian by columnist John Canzano about Will Lyles raised plenty of eyebrows in Eugene and elsewhere -- mainly for this statement by Lyles about the recruitment of five-star running back prospect (and eventual Oregon signee) Lache Seastrunk:

Also, Lyles told [head coach Chip Kelly], Seastrunk loves Air Jordan sneakers.

“He’s a complete Jordan-head,” Lyles said. “That’s one of the big things he liked. So Oregon had a pair of Jordans for him --- only one of two pairs ever made.”

Basically, a quick reading of that statement would probably lead one to believe that according to Lyles, Oregon provided Seastrunk with a rare pair of Air Jordans, which would be a major recruiting violation and likely enough to get Chip Kelly fired at once. Moreover, it would represent an escalation of Lyles' intimations about the Oregon program; when he talked to Yahoo!, he never once said anything about Oregon or anybody else directly providing impermissible benefits to any players, much less Seastrunk.

And yet still, there are Lyles' own words, seemingly damning Oregon's program. The only way out for Oregon is through a narrow interpretation of "had a pair of Jordans for him," mainly that Oregon had procured the shoes for Seastrunk's visit, but only for display and not as a gift or anything -- sort of the way a museum might say it "has a new exhibit wing for patrons," which nobody would assume to mean that the exhibits are free for the taking. Still, again, that's a pretty narrow reading of the term, and it would almost have to take a clarification from Lyles himself along those lines to make this a non-story.

Well, as luck would have it, Lyles did provide exactly that clarification on Twitter this evening -- and a picture to back it up. "The shoes were on display and I never said they were given to Lache," said Lyles in a tweet, and the photographic evidence, via Lyles' own Twitpic account, is above at right.

So that's that, and frankly, this explanation makes way more sense than the alternative. If there are only two pairs of a certain style of Jordan ever made, they're practically treasures (especially to Nike, Oregon, and to a lesser-but-still-substantial extent Seastrunk), which means the odds that they'd be used as a highly illegal bargaining chip in the recruitment of a player would seem practically zero. Moreover, according to Lyles, Oregon was paying him that $25,000 precisely so they wouldn't have to provide eligibility-threatening benefits to kids while still influencing them to come to Eugene. 

Last, it's hard to estimate just how big a boost this gives Lyles' credibility. The natural inclination for many has been to paint Lyles as a snitch, someone embittered by Oregon's decision to cut off the payments and essentially throw him under the bus. By personally diffusing a potential situation and rejecting the opportunity to pile more dirt on Kelly (especially after that initial Yahoo! interview), Lyles seems like less of a villian and more of, as Canzano noted in his piece linked above (which is truly worth a read regardless of the Jordans anecdote), a plain old human being.


Since: Aug 18, 2006
Posted on: July 6, 2011 11:48 am

No, Oregon did not give Seastrunk these Jordans

I hope all you Oregon fans that are blaming the media now retract any statements you made about Ohio state. Sucks to be in the spotlight doesn't it?

Since: Oct 8, 2010
Posted on: July 6, 2011 10:55 am

No, Oregon did not give Seastrunk these Jordans

This article also needs to be tagged under John Canzano too.  He is the one known as Clownzano by people in Oregon because of his accusatory style of writing.  He knew Seastrunk did not receive a pair of shoes as a bribe.  But by only using the quote, he was able to IMPLY some wrongdoing was done.

John Canzano is more of the National Enquirer type of writer who should only be read as fictional entertainment .

Since: Aug 25, 2006
Posted on: July 6, 2011 10:45 am

No, Oregon did not give Seastrunk these Jordans

If someone in Oregon had ever done the slightest bit of investigative journalism over the years, I am sure they would have uncovered Nike giving Oregon athletes free shoes, clothes and other sports gear. The relationship between Nike and University of Oregon (founder Phil Knight is a UO grad and booster) is too close for that to never happen.

Since: Mar 30, 2011
Posted on: July 6, 2011 10:42 am

No, Oregon did not give Seastrunk these Jordans

Oh please.  Of course they were given to him.  Somebody, please name another D1 school that barely has a basketball team (Like OR) that would buy and showcase a pair of rare basketball shoes!!! 

Watch what happens next.  Some criminal will break into the case and steal them.  No one will be found or prosecuted yet the shoes will somehow magically appear in Seastrunk's collection several years from now.  He will have an air-tight aliby so no need to even look there.

Something straight out of the Thomas Crown Affair movie......

Tattoos and shoes, is that all that is important to these young athletes?  Pathetic all of them.

I blame Ozzy Osbourne's music Wink

Since: Jul 6, 2011
Posted on: July 6, 2011 9:59 am

No, Oregon did not give Seastrunk these Jordans

Clearly Lyle's meant with the statement "So Oregon had a pair of Jordans for him -- only one of two pairs ever made" that Oregon let him LOOK at a pair of rare Jordan's behind glass in some weird shoe museum.  

Thanks for clearing that up, Woodward and Bernstein.   

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