Tag:Willie Lyles
Posted on: June 21, 2011 1:49 pm
 

There's cause for concern in Oregon

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Drip, drip, drip.

That's generally how news comes out about NCAA investigations at schools and it appears Oregon fans are finding that out all too well this week. Monday night Oregon released several documents to the media as part of open records requests stemming from the NCAA's investigation into the scouting service run by Will Lyles. The biggest nugget to come out of the documents was the fact that the university paid $25,000 for a scouting report that was two years old.

Lyles' "2011 National Package" was full of recruits from the 2009 class and had, among the notable names, SMU's junior starting quarterback Kyle Padron. In fact, none of the 140 players in the booklet Oregon turned over were identified as recruits in the class of 2011. Lyles has been connected to current Oregon running backs LaMichael James and Lache Seastrunk and former running back Dontae Williams, all of whom are from Texas.

So what's next?

CBSSports.com Senior Writer Dennis Dodd, who is in Eugene this week, wrote Tuesday morning that it's hard for him to believe Oregon could be this dumb. After all, paying $25,000 for something that pales in comparison to any other national package and paying that amount for old and relatively useless information is something they can smell all the way in Indianapolis.

While most Oregon fans can admit that the entire episode seems shady, it's hard to see what NCAA bylaws the school broke in paying Lyles $25,000 for his recruiting service.

There are four main bylaws that govern scouting or recruiting services: 11.3.2.5 (school personnel can't consult or endorse services), 12.3.3.1 (services can distribute student-athletes information but can't be paid a fee based on placing them at a school), 13.1.7.20 (coaches can't watch off-campus video of athletes provided by services) and 13.14.3, which is the main definition of a recruiting or scouting service.

Oregon needs to be concerned about 12.3.3.1 and 13.14.3 (below):

An institution may subscribe to a recruiting or scouting service involving prospective student-athletes, provided the institution does not purchase more than one annual subscription to a particular service and the service: (Adopted: 1/1/02, Revised: 1/16/10)

(a) Is made available to all institutions desiring to subscribe and at the same fee rate for all subscribers;

(b) Publicly identifies all applicable rates;

(c) Disseminates information (e.g., reports, profiles) about prospective student-athletes at least four times per calendar year;

(d) Publicly identifies the geographical scope of the service (e.g., local, regional, national) and reflects broad-based coverage of the geographical area in the information it disseminates;

(e) Provides individual analysis beyond demographic information or rankings for each prospective student-athlete in the information it disseminates; (Revised: 4/13/10)

(f) Provides access to samples or previews of the information it disseminates before purchase of a subscription; and

(g) Provides video that is restricted to regularly scheduled (regular-season) high school, preparatory school or two-year college contests and for which the institution made no prior arrangements for recording. (Note: This provision is applicable only if the subscription includes video services.)


Based on the documents turned over to the media by Oregon, Lyles' service he provided the school fails to fit (c) and (d) because he did not distribute reports at least four times per year and his geographical scope does not fit the definition of a national package. The "National" package Lyles sent was supposed to contain information on 22 states yet only contained information from five states and all but five players were from the state of Texas. A national package it was not.

According to George Schroeder of the Register-Guard, the media requested the video Lyles sent along but a school spokesman said 'Lyles delivered some video, but said the school had difficulty retrieving the video from its computer system, or separating it from video gathered by other means.'

While it is difficult to predict what the NCAA enforcement staff will do, it's very possible they will declare this an impermissible recruiting service. The staff could then argue that the $25,000 was - in essence - a payoff for delivering players and a violation of bylaw 12.3.3.1. This would place the players eligibility in question as well and could result in victories being vacated for playing ineligible players. It would also mean Oregon committed a major violation.

Oregon and the Ducks' coaching staff would certainly have to explain themselves (so far the university has issued a no comment). The Committee on Infractions would certainly want an explanation and would no doubt dare Chip Kelly and the compliance department to show how they could justify $25,000 for old information. Saying they were just defrauded by Lyles likely won't cut it and failure to answer the question truthfully or a failure to explain why they didn't raise the issue beforehand could result in a 10.1 violation for unethical conduct. Ask Jim Tressel and Ohio State what happens when they commit a 10.1 violation.

One BCS conference compliance officer told CBSSports.com that based on what they've read, "It doesn't look good but I won't predict how it plays out." Another said, "It's possible Oregon thought what they were doing was permissible but got it very wrong."

The school has not been issued a Notice of Inquiry, which marks the formal start of the investigation but the NCAA is certainly looking what has been going on in Eugene. Combined with an inquiry into the basketball program and the fact that Oregon coaches exchanged around 400 text messages and numerous phone calls with Lyles, things are starting to get very interesting.

No one knows how things might turn out for Oregon but there is cause for concern in Eugene.
Posted on: June 21, 2011 11:35 am
Edited on: June 21, 2011 1:11 pm
 

Oregon and Willie Lyles played a lot of phone tag

Posted by Tom Fornelli

On Monday we learned that Oregon had paid talent scout Willie Lyles $25,000 for some recruiting reports that were apparently two years old. That discovery means one of a couple things. There was either a clerical error that resulted in Oregon getting the wrong report, somebody at Oregon is really stupid, or there's something funny going on here. Then there's a fourth option.

Maybe Oregon was paying Lyles' cell phone bill.

According to a report in The Register-Guard, over the last four years, Oregon coaches have exchanged around 400 text messages and numerous phone calls with Lyles.

Records released by the University of Oregon, in response to media requests, show that Oregon coaches made or accepted 70 calls in a fourth-month period that ended in March of 2010, when the football program paid $25,000 to Lyles for outdated recruiting information just a few weeks after Texas running back Lache Seastrunk signed with the Ducks.

Lyles had been serving as a mentor to Seastrunk.

The records of cell phone calls shows that Gary Campbell, the UO running backs coach, made 27 calls to Lyles during that time and received 11 more from Lyles, while Kelly’s cell phone showed only one call made to Lyles, for a three-minute duration.

The UO records also show some 400 text messages exchanged between Lyles and UO coaches over the past four years, the heaviest volume of those involving Kelly at a time when he was still the offensive coordinator.

Kelly traded 12 texts with Lyles on the two days before Jan. 17, 2008, when UO received a verbal commitment from LaMichael James, who has described Lyles as an advisor.

The report also goes on to detail a couple of specific incidents in which Chip Kelly and Lyles were in constant contact via text message, with one such instance coming the day before Chip Kelly was named as Mike Bellotti's successor at Oregon. Now, it's important to point out here that just because Chip Kelly and Willie Lyles were texting a lot before LaMichael James made his decision and before Kelly became head coach, that doesn't mean there was anything funny going on here.

For all we know, Lyles and Kelly were texting the night before James committed to talk about James coming to a decision. Unless a record of the text emerges from Kelly to Lyles' phone that says "Thanks, the check is in the mail" there's not exactly a whole lot anybody can prove here.

But you do have to admit, fresh off the news that Oregon paid Lyles $25,000 for two-year old reports, it does smell a bit fishy.

Posted on: June 20, 2011 10:13 pm
Edited on: June 21, 2011 10:00 am
 

Oregon's $25,000 recruiting info badly outdated

Posted by Adam Jacobi

One of the more unsettling storylines to come out of this offseason has been the possibility that Oregon may have been paying large sums of money in exchange for high-level recruits. In particular, the school's athletic department paid $25,000 to Willie Lyles, a talent scout with close connections to superstar running back recruit (and eventual Oregon signee) Lache Seastrunk.

Lyles denied any wrongdoing, of course, and Oregon asserted that the $25,000 was in exchange for general recruiting information and was in no way used for the purposes of steering a particular recruit to Eugene or anywhere else. This explanation seemed to pass the smell test -- no school would leave a paper trail for such an illegal act, right? -- and as a result Oregon hasn't been drawing nearly as much national attention as, say, Ohio State thus far this spring. Also, as it turns out, Lyles' company, Complete Scouting Servicesdid provide Oregon with scouting reports on numerous recruits in the spring of 2010. Non-story, then, right?

Well, tiny problem. According to The Oregonian, Lyles' information was already two years out of date by the time he sold it to the Ducks:

A national recruiting package purchased by Oregon in February 2010 that included the player profiles for 140 players with the heading “Player Profile 2011” is made up of virtually all 2009 high school graduates.

Further, although the service was billed as a “national package,” the vast majority of the players are from Texas. Forty of those profiled are from Houston. Of the five from outside Texas, two were from South Carolina, and one each from California, Oklahoma and Louisiana.

Amid the documents released by Oregon related to the football scouting services inquiry were 140 recruiting profiles of high school players under the heading “2010 National High School Evaluation Booklet." Above each individual profile, however, reads “Player Profile 2011.” The related invoice cites the "2011 National Package."

The full report itself is available here (opens in new Google Docs page)

It's important to note that Oregon has not given any statements about what information was requested and when it was received, so until that's known there stands the possibility (remote as it may be) of this being a clerical mixup that was later rectified to Oregon's satisfaction. There's no evidence to suggest that as yet, though, and there most certainly is evidence that there's some funny business going on here.

So let's ask the question again: why did Oregon really pay Willie Lyles $25,000?

Posted on: May 2, 2011 4:07 pm
Edited on: May 2, 2011 4:07 pm
 

Lyles calls accusations 'unequivocally false'

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Willie Lyles has found his name in the headlines quite a bit in recent months as accusations about Lyles being a "street agent" and selling off players like Patrick Peterson and Lache Seastrunk have surfaced. Accusations that Lyles hadn't commented on publicly until he made an appearance on the Real Talk podcast with Fox Sports' Jason Whitlock. As you'd expect, Lyles denied all of the accusations during his hour-long interview.

“That was what was alleged and that was unequivocally false also,” Lyles told Whitlock about the rumors he offered Patrick Peterson to Texas A&M for $80,000. “That was never asked for. That type of conversation never happened.”

Lyles also addressed the Lache Seastrunk rumors that had Oregon paying him $25,000 for the running back before going on to say how everything has been blown way out of proportion.

“That is unequivocally false,” said Lyles. “(Lache) chose Oregon because he felt Oregon was the best fit for him. He liked the running backs coach, Gary Campbell, and he felt it was a good system and a good fit for him. (Lache) enjoyed the campus when he went on his visit and he enjoyed the people. He made the decision that was best for him.

“The sensationalism of (the scandal) just caught like wildfire. It’s one of those things when you are the smaller entity . . . it’s almost like it’s a David-vs.-Goliath battle. They know you don’t have the resources. They know you don’t have the things to fight that battle, so they feel that they can come out and say whatever they want about you at any point and time and you really don’t have the means to fight back. What I’m doing in this interview today is I really want to get my side of the story out there because one of the few things that I am left with is my name."

And I couldn't get through that quote without thinking about this quote from Marlo Stanfield (NSFW), not that I'm trying to compare Willie Lyles to a drug kingpin on a fictional television show. My point is that while they're two entirely different subjects, the premise is the same. This is Lyles' reputation and living being messed with here.

Of course, whether or not Lyles is being honest, that's for the NCAA to decide, not me.

Posted on: April 18, 2011 2:56 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 2:57 pm
 

Oregon's Haines arrested, suspended

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Finally, some news involving Oregon this offseason that has nothing to do with Willie Lyles. Though this isn't exactly good news, either, as backup quarterback Dustin Haines was arrested early Saturday morning and has since been suspended. Apparently Haines was partying a little too loudly, and when the police showed up Haines got a bit out of hand.

Police say Haines became hostile and scuffled with officers. He was charged with with excessive noise, interfering with a police officer and resisting arrest.

Former UO running back Brandon Thurston also was cited for noise, a police spokeswoman said. 

The spokeswoman said Haines was taken to Lane County jail. He posted bail and was released on Saturday.

Chip Kelly has suspended Haines indefinitely.

Haines appeared in four games as a sophomore for Oregon last season, carrying the ball twice, making one catch and never throwing a pass. Such is Oregon's offense where quarterbacks have more carries and receptions than passes.

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: April 1, 2011 12:24 pm
 

The offseason is just one large shining moment

Posted by Tom Fornelli

It's the first day of April, which means it's been nearly three months since we've had a college football game. Since then, however, the world of college football has been able to keep the four of us here at Eye On College Football busy. There are arrests to cover, coaching changes being made and, of course, all the fun NCAA violations and investigations. From Jim Tressel being the best coach in the country to share a secret with, to John Junker being the Elagabalus of bowl CEOs, and finishing with Willie Lyles' Football Star Emporium and Car Wash.

All of this has already happened, and we still have five more months of offseason to go before we get another college football game! Why, it's possible that so much will happen between now and September, we won't even remember half of the stuff that's already gone down. Which is why we're grateful to Ty and Dan of The Solid Verbal. They were kind enough to put together a lovely video for all of us, so we can look back on these memorable days and smile whenever we need to.



Luther Vandross would be proud.
Posted on: March 30, 2011 11:05 pm
 

Report: Patrick Peterson shopped by Willie Lyles

Posted by Chip Patterson

While the college football world hung onto every word of the Wednesday night's episode of Real Sports on HBO, there was another recruiting bomb dropped on the SEC. A report on ESPN.com indicates that a former Texas A&M football coach was told that the Aggies would need to "beat" $80,000 to sign former LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson.

Von Malone, the former defensive backs coach at Texas A&M and now recruiting coordinator for Tulsa, told ESPN.com that Willie Lyles contacted him in 2007 to let the Aggies know that in order to sign Peterson they would likely have to pay for his services.

"A few days after the kid's visit, Will calls and says, 'If you want this kid, there are other schools that want this kids as well. They're willing to pay a certain amount of money, around the $80,000 mark,'" Malone said. "He said that was something we were going to have to beat as a university to be able to obtain the services of this kid."


Lyles runs a Texas-based recruiting service that is currently the center of an NCAA investigation regarding their relationship with Oregon and running back Lache Seastrunk. Oregon has confirmed that they paid $25,000 to Lyles' company for the recruiting services, not for Seastrunk - who ended up committing to the Ducks.

LSU officials have not made a comment, the SEC was too busy handling the HBO special to make a comment. However, Peterson's father Patrick, Sr. did make a comment to the WWL.

"This is my first time hearing this. This is a shocker," Peterson Sr. told ESPN. "It could have happened. It could have come out of [Lyles'] mouth, that's what happens. These guys try to make money on their own, they are kind of like escort services. That's what I call them, escort services."

This can't be good for Les Miles and LSU, who are picked by many to be favorites to reclaim the SEC West in 2011. The school has confirmed earlier they paid $6,000 for a scouting DVD from Complete Scouting Services, a company that employs Lyles.

At this point, any association to Lyles is going to come under the microscope. This report from Malone only starts another small fire in his network. The last 12 months in college football have been filled with cases regarding improper associations. This latest development suggests we are nowhere close to the end.

Keep it here with CBSSports.com for more news and analysis as this story develops.
 
 
 
 
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