Many are jumping on the rumor train that has Oregon being hammered by the NCAA over the recruitment of Lache Seastrunk.
Oregon has admitted to paying a promoter $25000.00 for his services. One of the many recruits this man promoted was Seastrunk.
There are some huge holes in this logic that must be plugged before the general public starts to condemn Oregon in this matter. Such promoters are paid by the majority of NCAA programs and it is considered money well spent.
Lache Seastrunk’s first choice was not Oregon, but Auburn. During a recruiting visit to Auburn, he was one of a few recruits that took part in a celebration at Toomer’s Corner that was recorded and posted all over the internet by an overzealous opposition fan.
The allegation was that the entire celebration was against NCAA recruiting rules. In a rare case where such a zealot turned out to be right, Auburn self reported the incident.
The NCAA declared it a minor recruiting infraction and Auburn was ordered to cease recruiting contact with Lache Seastrunk and other recruits at the event; coach Trooper Taylor was also restricted in his recruiting activities due to the mistake.
Seastrunk remained high on Auburn right up to signing with Oregon, his second choice. It is doubtful that any undue influence was paid for by Oregon that left them second in line at the time. In fact, Seastrunk remains very friendly with the Auburn staff to this day and had friendly communications with them at the BCS Championship this year.
There were rumors started over Seastrunk’s commitment back then. It was said that he had a paid agent; most of this came out after he played a youthful prank and called out Alabama Coach Nick Saban on the phone while at Auburn.
It seems that overzealous reporters fail to take surrounding circumstances into account when writing these stories.
It is true that Oregon paid this promoter $25000.00 and it is true that that is about 10 times the average paid for such services. It is also true that Oregon was interested in over 10 times the recruits in his area than the average program.
Is Oregon clean? There is little evidence to point in either direction at this point.
The point of this article is simply to show that the prevailing circumstances at the time do not scream pay-for-play in the Seastrunk case.
The NCAA is doing a probe into these types of promoters in college football. Much of it is being carried out during the normal course of routine NCAA Clearing House activity.
Recent reports of investigations of Auburn expanding were not only untrue, but uninformed. Both cases used as examples were routine NCAA Clearing House activities that occur every year with recruits from most elite programs.
The only difference for 2010 is that the NCAA is also looking into the seven-on-seven camps and the relationship of promoters in the recruiting process. After the NCAA looks into this, there could be legislation forthcoming that will control this area of the recruiting process more.
The public does need to be careful of jumping on another witch-hunt targeting Oregon in this matter. If there ever is any evidence that they did anything wrong, it will eventually come out.
Until there is evidence presented from the NCAA and not some innuendo from a sensationalist writer, fans should refrain from raking Oregon over the coals.