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Tag:Van Malone
Posted on: April 1, 2011 2:27 pm
 

A&M says no contact with Lyles, but Peterson ...

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The whirlpool of scandal surrounding increasingly-notorious Texas recruiting scout Willie Lyles has gotten wider this week, as former Texas A&M assistant (and current Tulsa coach) Van Malone claimed that Lyles shopped the services of future All-American Patrick Peterson while Malone recruited Peterson (then called Patrick Johnson) to College Station.

That report has prompted swift denials from everyone involved except for Lyles, starting with Peterson yesterday and continuing through Texas A&M today. Aggie officials say that despite Malone's claims, he never passed that information along to A&M compliance or anyone else currently at the school:
A&M spokesman Alan Cannon said he talked earlier today with Aggies’ athletics director Bill Byrne and that school officials researched the possibility of a relationship with Lyles’ recruiting service dating back as far as the start of the Dennis Franchione era, which began in December, 2002. Cannon said no evidence was found and A&M officials consider this “a non-issue.”

“No one currently in the Texas A&M athletics department was aware of any conversations between former assistant coach Van Malone and Willie Lyles regarding payments to secure prospective players,” Cannon said. “Our business records show no financial relationship with Willie Lyles or his recruiting services. We consider this a non-issue from Texas A&M’s standpoint.”

It seems likely enough that with Peterson eventually going to LSU, A&M (unlike Oregon) won't be caught in Lyles' investigative wake. (Though could Malone? Failing to report Lyles' request to compliance could be a violation in itself, as Jim Tressel could tell you.)

But can the same be said for Peterson? The potential No. 1 overall draft pick claimed yesterday to have no relationship whatsoever with Lyles.

That statement, though, seems to have been contradicted by this 2007 recruiting story at Rivals, in which Peterson discussed an unofficial visit to College Station and mentioned a Houston-based "friend" of his father's he and his father visited. The writer of the story, Brian Perroni, has confirmed that the "friend" in question was in fact Willie Lyles. According to Malone, Lyles' request for $80,000 came shortly after that visit ... and after that request was denied, the official visit to A&M Peterson says he planed on making never occurred.

Was that anything more than coincidence? Recruiting visits both official and unofficial are often scheduled and unscheduled at a moment's notice, both Peterson and his father are clearly adamant they had nothing to do with Lyles' request, and of course at this time no one (Malone included) has yet accused the Petersons of having anything to do with Lyles' alleged solicitation. Unless something much more concrete emerges, neither Peterson nor LSU will be in any danger from the NCAA.

But given that the Petersons likely had some sort of relationship with Lyles, it's not time to be certain just yet that that something isn't out there.


Posted on: March 31, 2011 2:20 pm
Edited on: March 31, 2011 3:02 pm
 

Peterson calls pay-for-play allegations 'baloney'

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

In the latest headline of what's been a solid week of scandal in college football, reports broke last night that now-notorious trainer/scout Will Lyles -- already under investigation for receiving a $25,000 payment from Oregon for his services -- had told assistant coach Van Malone of Texas A&M that the Aggies would need to "beat" $80,000 if they wanted a commitment from eventual LSU All-American Patrick Peterson, then one of the country's hottest high school prospects.

Today, Peterson responded to those allegations by speaking to a Baton Rouge radio station , calling them "baloney" and claiming that he had never even visited Texas A&M. "Why would I jeopardize my future over going to Texas A&M and $80,000 when I knew that my future was playing football," Peterson reportedly said.

There are two problems with these denials, though. First, no one has publicly accused Peterson of asking for any amount of money, much less accepting any; Malone's statements refer to Lyles and Lyles alone, and in the report Peterson's father (while calling businesses like Lyles' "escort services") specifically denies the family having ever requesting money in exchange for Peterson's signature. Peterson appears to responding to implications drawn from the report rather than the report itself, which doesn't claim he had done anything wrong.

Second, Peterson almost certainly did visit College Station; this Rivals article offer multiple details on Peterson's surprise visit (from the days he was using the last name Johnson) and his father himself said Peterson had enjoyed a "good visit" to A&M (one that included meeting up with Malone).

Neither of those issues mean that Peterson's denials aren't perfectly valid; the only real thing they probably indicate is that the interview was more off-the-cuff than carefully planned out.

But it also shows that it's an issue that Peterson and his family are taking seriously, and that despite his and his father's responses, it's one we haven't heard the last of yet by a long shot.

UPDATE: LSU has released an official statement from Peterson, which reads:
“I have never had any type of relationship with Willie Lyles and he had no influence on my decision to attend LSU, or any other school for that matter. He had no involvement with my recruiting process and I resent the fact that my name has come up in these allegations. I chose LSU because it’s a great school with a great football program. I never received nor was I offered anything to go to LSU and anyone saying otherwise is being dishonest.”
Unlike Peterson's previous statements on the radio, there's nothing much confusing or contradictory about that. Assuming Peterson is being truthful, expect the NCAA's microscope to focus even more intensely on Lyles than it already is.

HT: @Year2 .


 
 
 
 
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