This morning we got the news that the University of Oregon is releasing documents that relate to the football scouting services inquiry and it makes me nervous. Why nervous? Well, when any regulatory body starts knocking on your door it can bring on the nerves. But, nerves don’t mean guilt. There are several topics of discussion around the web on this so I thought I’d do a refresher on the subject.
Rumors emerged that Mack Brown of UT was upset that highly recruited Texas players were leaving the state and subsequently “complained” about the issue, causing the NCAA to look into Lyles.
There was talk of these rumors over on the Texas Tech forums and on the eDuck forums back in May. People will go to great lengths to maintain success and this rumor isn’t totally out of the question. If this is at all true then attention simply was turned to Oregon and with more attention come more questions. Perception is everything, and in this situation, if outside coaches suddenly see a change in the status quo (i.e. Oregon getting a lot more Texas players) then there may be a perception that it must be cheating. Perception doesn’t equal fact and doesn’t prove anything.
There are plenty of top teams out there who pay top dollar for recruiting services.
Oregon isn’t alone in making large payments to recruiting services. Over on the Ohio State forums you can read about large sums paid for recruiting. The best high school football players are what bring money to college programs, and the programs with the resources will make sure they take every legal advantage they can to get the players that will bring success to their program. If Oregon has the resources then why wouldn’t they take those same advantages that other top programs do? There is a lot of talk out there naming Willie Lyles a “know street-agent” and that is a suggestive description that is being thrown around to make Oregon look bad without proof. If Lyles was a “known street-agent” this wouldn’t be much of a discussion for obvious reasons. The allegation that Oregon used Lyles’ company as a service to simply funnel money for players is not based in any fact as of now. Maybe Oregon just paid top price for a service they felt would bring Oregon success and, in turn, a lot more money than $25,000.
Lyles’ relationship with Oregon players is suspect.
Again, this is about perception. In this type of business relationships are made, and that should be expected. Think of the people you work around or with – those are people you spend a lot of time with and will naturally create friendships with. Why would this be any different? This is a perception that because there was a relationship between LaMichael James and Lache Seastrunk there is automatically something wrong. As James said in a recent interview, no one knows him personally – they’re taking bits and pieces from other people’s suggestions and coming to a negative conclusion that will sell a story.
So, in my opinion, it seems that the NCAA should ask the questions because that is their job, but Oregon hasn’t been found guilty of anything at this point. I am nervous that the NCAA is looking because they are the regulators and no one wants their program scrutinized, but that is the job of the NCAA so no one should be surprised they are doing their job. Nor should anyone be surprised that Oregon is on their radar because of the success Oregon has had in the past few years. None of these rumors indicate Oregon cheated – all that has been proven so far is that a lot of allegations can be thrown around based on the perception of a few individuals.