Tag:Will Lyles
Posted on: July 9, 2011 12:40 pm
Edited on: July 9, 2011 1:03 pm
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Cal, LSU paid less for Lyles' packages

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Oregon is not the only school that has paid Complete Scouting Services director Willie Lyles in recent years, though it appears the school was paying much more than the others that Lyles worked with.

According to a report in The Oregonian, Lyles sold similar packages to both Cal and LSU, though neither school paid nearly as much.

Lyles billed California $5,000 for what is described on the invoice as the Complete Scouting Services' "2010 National Package."

On the invoice, it appears nearly identical to the CSS "2011 National Package" for which Oregon paid Lyles $25,000.

The invoices indicate that both the 2010 and 2011 packages include game film and highlight film from the same 22 states.

LSU paid Lyles $6,000 for what the invoice detailed as the "2010 JUCO perState Package" that included game film from California and Kansas junior colleges.

Obviously, this is yet another revelation that doesn't look very good for Oregon. Lyles has already said that what Oregon was paying him for was his access and influence with highly recruited players like LaMichael James and Lache Seastrunk, two players Lyles claims to have helped steer toward Oregon. The fact that Oregon paid five times as much as fellow Pac-12 school Cal did for essentially the same package gives Lyles claims a bit more weight behind them.

That is, unless we're supposed to believe that Oregon just tips really well. 

Posted on: July 8, 2011 1:13 pm
Edited on: July 8, 2011 4:11 pm
 

Report: Oregon's Josh Gibson relieved of duties

Posted by Tom Fornelli

UPDATE: Oregon has since denied the report that Gibson is no longer the school's assistant director of fooball operations.

It looks like the fallout at Oregon has begun.

Josh Gibson, Oregon's assistant director of football operations, was named in a Yahoo report last week detailing the relationship between the school and Complete Scouting Service director Will Lyles. In that report, Lyles said Gibson knew about and helped him petition the grandmother of running back Lache Seastrunk to sign off on Seastrunk's letter of intent to attend Oregon. There were concerns that Seastrunk's mother wouldn't want him to attend the school.

Now, according to DuckTerritory.com, it seems that Gibson is no longer employed by the school as its assistant director of football operations.

Multiple sources close to the Oregon football program tell DuckTerritory.com that Assistant Director of Football Operations Josh Gibson is no longer working in the football office. It is unclear if Gibson has been fired, if he resigned or if he has been reassigned.

Multiple messages left on Gibson’s cell phone have not been returned.

When contacted by phone Wednesday afternoon by DuckTerritory’s Matt Prehm, Oregon spokesman Dave Williford said. "I can't confirm or deny that."

This could be the first of many dominoes to fall at Oregon in the coming months as the NCAA continues to investigate the school's relationship with Lyles -- especially considering that Lyles said recently he plans on cooperating with the NCAA investigation. 

Posted on: July 8, 2011 12:09 pm
Edited on: July 8, 2011 12:53 pm
 

Report: Oregon's Harris owed $8,500 in fines

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

So, hey, remember when Oregon All-American cornerback and punt returner Cliff Harris took a fellow UO employee's rental car for a 118-mile-per-hour joyride? On a suspended license? Earning himself more than $1,600 in fines?

That princely sum would be far more than most college students would be capable of paying, but fortunately for Harris, he's got a very generous mother -- one who has reportedly written a check for the entirety of Harris' fines stemming from the incident.

By paying the ticket, Harris has effectively pled guilty to the charges related to his arrest.

But that little escapade still represents barely more than a sixth of Harris' former total debt in traffic citations and other fines. According to a June 15 report from Eugene station KEZI, until his mother's payment Harris had racked up some 11 unpaid tickets between the courts in Eugene and his hometown of Fresno (Calif.). The grand total owed? $8,527.50.

The breakdown:
Harris has these outstanding fines in Oregon Municipal Court, all of which he was found guilty by default for failing to appear in court. Another court official said the fine amounts below would actually be higher now with interest added, after being sent to Professional Credit Service for collections:

- $471.25 for Minor in Possession of Liquor (sent to collections 2/8/10)

- $408.75 for Speeding (sent to collections 7/26/10)

- $486.25 for Operating without Driving Privileges (sent to collections 7/26/10)

- $486.25 for Driving Uninsured (sent to collections 7/26/10)

These totals are in addition to the $1,575 Harris will likely owe after being cited for driving more than 100 mph with a suspended license Sunday.

Fresno Superior Court records in California also show five more outstanding fines that are still in collections totaling $4486. Those fines are for citations dating from December 20, 2008 to March 23, 2010. All but one took place before he arrived at Oregon as a freshman.
Thanks to the serious nature of Harris' recent speeding arrest -- doing 118 in a 65-mph zone is no joke, as that hefty fine attests -- he had already been suspended for the Ducks' season opener against LSU, and possibly longer.

But with that most recent incident only the latest in a string of run-ins with the traffic courts and considering that Chip Kelly will be doing everything he can to rehab his image in the wake of the Will Lyles allegations, we're now betting on "possibly longer."

Given the long series of off-field incidents Kelly has already had to deal with over the past 16 months, this latest black eye may not give him much choice.

HT: DocSat.

Posted on: July 7, 2011 1:48 pm
 

Will Lyles could cost Oregon a lot more than 25K

Posted by Tom Fornelli

While Oregon has already paid Will Lyles $25,000 for his scouting services, the school's relationship with Lyles could end up costing a lot more than that. And I don't just mean the possible scholarships lost or the probation that the school might find itself on once the NCAA is done with this case. I mean the lawyer fees the school will have to pay to fight this case.

Oregon has hired Mike Glazier and three other attorneys from the law firm of Bond, Shoeneck and King to represent the school. Glazier is referred to as "The Cleaner" thanks to his work with schools in NCAA investigations, as Glazier is a former NCAA investigator. The man doesn't just help clean up the situation at your school, but he tends to clean out your wallet while he's at it.

It's estimated that hiring Glazier and company could end up costing Oregon upwards of $150,000, and that's just for the first seven months.

According to records obtained by The Register-Guard, maximum compensation for Bond, Schoeneck & King is capped at $150,000 during the initial period of the contract. The contract, which began March 7, is scheduled to conclude September 30. If it is extended, the maximum compensation could increase.

Glazier is making $330 an hour. Three other attorneys will bill amounts ranging from $205 to $300. Travel expenses are included in the maximum compensation.

That's six outdated recruiting reports that Oregon is going to end up paying Glazier and company, and he can't even help bring a blue chip running back or two to Eugene. 

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

No, Oregon did not give Seastrunk these Jordans

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.

Posted on: July 1, 2011 6:49 pm
Edited on: July 1, 2011 7:17 pm
 

If Lyles is telling truth, Chip Kelly must go

Posted by Adam Jacobi

As reported earlier, controversial scouting service owner Willie Lyles told Yahoo! Sports that he received money from Oregon to indirectly steer recruits to Eugene, and that the infamous obsolete scouting report was sent in order to make the $25,000 payment appear more legitimate. Lyles also told Yahoo! that he met with the NCAA in March, and that he withheld details at that meeting that he would later reveal to Yahoo!.

Oregon's options at this point are simple: dispute heavily Lyles' version of events, or fire head coach Chip Kelly.

If Lyles isn't telling the truth, obviously, that's not Oregon's fault, nor should it necessitate any discipline for Kelly. That said, Oregon had better be on the offensive about that right now, and have a paper trail to back it up. Simply repeating that Oregon doesn't think it did anything wrong isn't going to fly anymore -- not with Lyles' statements out there and the litany of NCAA violations possible here. Lyles said what just about everybody was thinking -- that the "scouting report" was a sham, and that the money was really for some sort of indirect coercive influence -- and he's got the ambiguously worded cards from two different Oregon coaches (including Kelly) to back it up.

That all said, the existing evidence as of right now paints Kelly and Oregon as brazen flouters of NCAA rules, to the point that the best thing Lyles said about recruiting arrangement was that he wasn't directly influencing the prospects' decisions. That appears to be a distinction without much of a difference, however. Look at what Lyles said about getting five-star RB recruit Lache Seastrunk to Oregon:

Lyles said Oregon's assistant director of football operations, Josh Gibson, had direct knowledge – and played an ancillary role – in Lyles helping [...] Seastrunk petition to have his grandmother, rather than his mother, sign his national letter of intent with the Ducks in February 2010. Seastrunk's mother, who expressed opposition to her son about attending Oregon, otherwise could have blocked the signing.

Lyles then says outright that it was an indirect but pivotal role in getting Seastrunk to Oregon, but... that sounds pretty direct. And as for the amount of influence was involved here, Lyles basically says outright that Oregon went around the wishes of Seastrunk's mother. To see Seastrunk not only calling out Alabama head coach Nick Saban at Toomer's Corner while being recruited by Auburn in 2009, but still talking fondly of the Tigers in the lead up to the BCS Championship Game, it certainly appears that a significant amount of work was put into getting Seastrunk to Oregon instead of Auburn. Whether that was legal work is for the NCAA to decide.

Here's how bad the situation is for Oregon: the best argument Kelly and the Ducks can make is that the $25,000 couldn't have been used to land Seastrunk and the other recruits, because if there's one thing the Cam Newton ($180,000) and Patrick Peterson ($70,000) situations showed us, $25,000 is far below asking price for even one high-profile player. And they'd be right. It still doesn't answer the question of what the $25,000 was really playing for, though, and that's the question that may derail Oregon's program and Kelly's career right as both were getting good. 

Posted on: July 1, 2011 1:48 pm
Edited on: July 2, 2011 1:24 pm
 

Lyles talks about his relationship with Oregon

Posted by Tom Fornelli

If you're an Oregon fan you may want to pour yourself a drink and sit down before you continue reading any further.

In a report released by Yahoo on Friday, Will Lyles -- the "street agent" who has been the subject of an NCAA investigation at Oregon in recent months -- detailed his relationship with Oregon in helping the school land recruits like LaMichael James and Lache Seastrunk amongst others with Yahoo's Charles Robinson and Dan Wetzel. Amongst the things talked about is the $25,000 the school paid Lyles for recruiting reports that eventually turned out to be a few years old, and things don't look good for Oregon if Lyles' side of the story is true.
Embattled scouting service owner Will Lyles told Yahoo! Sports that University of Oregon coach Chip Kelly personally approved a controversial $25,000 fee that sparked an ongoing NCAA investigation and was in constant contact as Lyles provided the Ducks with recruiting assistance that may have violated NCAA rules.

In a wide-ranging, multi-day interview, Lyles said Kelly "scrambled" in late February and asked Lyles to submit retroactive player profiles to justify the $25,000 payment to his company, just days before the transaction was revealed in a March 3 Yahoo! Sports report. Lyles also provided details of his fledgling company – Complete Scouting Services (CSS) – as well as the extent of his relationship with numerous Texas high school stars and his role in Ducks' recruitment of certain prospects.

Lyles insists Oregon did not make a direct request or payment to steer recruits to Eugene. However, he now says Oregon did not pay him for his work as a traditional scout, but for his influence with top recruits and their families and his ability to usher prospects through the signing and eligibility process. That dual role as mentor to prospects and paid contractor to Oregon is believed to be a focus of the NCAA probe.

"I look back at it now and they paid for what they saw as my access and influence with recruits," Lyles said. "The service I provided went beyond what a scouting service should … I made a mistake and I'm big enough of a man to admit I was wrong."
While Chip Kelly declined to comment on the story, Oregon spokesman Dave Williford said that the school's stance "hasn't changed from our original statement" and the the school believes "it did nothing wrong." A statement that is contradicted by Lyles saying that Oregon's assistant director of football operations Josh Gibson played a role in bringing Lache Seastrunk to Eugene.
Lyles said Oregon's assistant director of football operations, Josh Gibson, had direct knowledge – and played an ancillary role – in Lyles helping Temple (Texas) High School star Lache Seastrunk petition to have his grandmother, rather than his mother, sign his national letter of intent with the Ducks in February 2010. Seastrunk's mother, who expressed opposition to her son about attending Oregon, otherwise could have blocked the signing.

"Indirectly I played a pivotal role in [Seastrunk signing with Oregon]," Lyles said.
The report then goes on to detail how Lyles helped a number of players make their way to Oregon, including having LaMichael James transfer to a school in Arkansas during his final semester of high school so that he wouldn't have to take a standardized test that could have affected his eligibility to play college football. Lyles also said that Chip Kelly, who was then Oregon's offensive coordinator, believed the transfer was a "great idea."

All in all, there's a whole lot in the Yahoo report that does not shine a good light on Oregon and it's relationship with Lyles. I recommend heading over there to read the entire thing. That is, unless you're an Oregon fan. If that's the case you should probably just pour yourself another drink. 

As for the school's reaction to the story, athletic director Rob Mullens released a statement on Friday night.

“The University of Oregon athletic department has and will continue to fully cooperate with the NCAA inquiry,” said Mullens. “Our department is committed to helping the NCAA in any way possible and until their work is complete, we are unable to comment further.

“Oregon athletics remains committed to operating a program of integrity.” 
Posted on: June 24, 2011 10:56 am
Edited on: June 24, 2011 3:51 pm
 

Oregon hired notable NCAA lawyer in March

Posted by Chip Patterson

The NCAA's latest high profile interest, thanks to some new details regarding scouting packages from Willie Lyles, is the Oregon football program. With the investigators just getting to work in Eugene, the school has made big moves to bring in some of the best legal assistance in the industry.

Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens confirmed to The Register-Guard on Thursday that the school retained the services of Bond, Schoeneck & King in March. Those services will be handled most notably by Michael Glazier, who leads the Collegiate Sports Practice Group - a division of the law firm that has gained notoriety for representing schools in cases regarding NCAA infractions.

Glazier, formerly a member of the NCAA's enforcement staff, has built a reputation as "the Cleaner" for his ability to help guilty schools lessen the blow of major violations on the program. Often his strategy includes admitting violations and being pro-active with self-imposed penalties. In the case of Oregon, Mullen says that Glazier was retained to help Oregon proceed with NCAA inquiries.

"As is prudent in a specialized matter, the university has consulted with outside counsel," Mullens wrote in his email to The Register-Guard. "In March, Mike Glazier was retained and has assisted UO in providing the NCAA all the information they have requested."

For Oregon, the move was more than prudent. There have been reports of ways that other investigations recently could have been aided with more/better legal advice, and it is hard to get better than Mike Glazier. His reputation and presence on campus by no means indicates any guilt/innocence on Oregon's part, but if the Ducks do face potential violations Glazier is the man you want in your corner.

UPDATE: CBSSports.com's Dennis Dodd has also confirmed the news and spoke with Glazier today.  Click here for more on this story 
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com