Posted by Tom Fornelli
So much for just being able to enjoy a Saturday of college football. Along with the latest in conference expansion from CBSSports.com's Brett McMurphy, Oregon also released a statement on Saturday morning saying that it has received a Notice of Inquiry from the NCAA.
“This notice has been anticipated and is simply the next stage of the process,” said Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens in the statement. “The University of Oregon football program, from Head Coach Chip Kelly through the entire organization, has tremendous respect for the NCAA’s important role in monitoring collegiate athletics and, to this end, continues to fully cooperate with the NCAA ‘s ongoing examination.
“The Athletic Department, Coach Kelly and the entire staff remain committed to operating the athletics program consistent with the highest standards and ensuring our program follows best practices.”
While Oregon wouldn't get into details in the release, this is related to the school's connection to Willie Lyles and his scouting service. Oregon originally paid Lyles $25,000 for scouting reports on high school recruits that was reportedly two years old at the time. Some have speculated that rather than pay for Lyles' scouting reports, Oregon was paying Lyles for his influence with recruits like LaMichael James and Lache Seastrunk.
In fact, Lyles himself has said that was the case.
As for what this Letter of Inquiry means for Oregon at the moment, the truth is not much. At least, not yet. It's merely the NCAA's way of letting a school know that it has begun investigating the school.