Time out indeed Chip Kelly, because you and Oregon football are headed for some serious trouble if Will Lyles is correct. According to a Yahoo! Sports report, Lyles says that Kelly and Oregon paid him for his influence on recruits.
For his scouting services, Lyles was paid $25,000 by the Oregon Ducks. After initial reports about the validation of the payment broke, it sparked an ongoing NCAA investigation. Lyles is claiming that Kelly personally approved the payment, and was also in continuous contact with the scout.
If this is true, then the NCAA may find Oregon guilty of violating NCAA rules. There have been so many scandals happening in college football lately that this wouldn't be much of a surprise.
Kelly, along with other Oregon employees, used Lyles' scouting service to recruit numerous Texas high school football stars. His role as mentor and scout is the focal point of the NCAA investigation, and Lyle's has come out and admitted he was in the wrong.
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.
This is the last thing that college football needs right now. However, the NCAA should handle this properly, which means if Lyles is right, Kelly and Oregon could be hit hard.
The report lists phone calls and e-mails exchanged between Lyles and Oregon football employees. It also shows a hand-written note from Kelly to Lyles thanking him for his help with getting recruits to visit Oregon.
Another claim that Lyles is making is that Kelly and Oregon quickly "scrambled" and asked Lyles to submit player profiles to justify the $25,000 payment to his company. He says that the school knew reporters were on to something, so they quickly got profiles together.
They said they just needed anything, Lyles said of the embarrassingly thin recruiting profiles that Oregon made public earlier this month. They asked for last-minute [stuff]. So I gave them last-minute [stuff] …They were covering their tracks. They were covering their asses. They were scrambling.
It's not looking good for Kelly at the moment. Oregon continues to stand by their story and they believe they did nothing illegal.
Oregon spokesman Dave Williford said, "our stance hasn’t changed from our original statement. We believe we did nothing wrong.”
That may end up being the case here. It would be pretty pathetic if Lyles is simply lying because he's upset his business has now tanked because of his negative image perceived by the media.
However, just about every school is cheating these days, so it would be no shock if Kelly and Oregon were found guilty. This would be devastating news for Oregon, though, because their program has done nothing but go up since Kelly arrived.
The Ducks are one of the top teams in the Pac-12 thanks to Kelly. The last thing they need is to be sanctioned by the NCAA.
But if you're caught, then you must pay the price. The NCAA is unable to speak of an active investigation, but soon we will know the truth.
As for Lyles, he wants Oregon to own up to what happened because he believes he was used.
I’m very disappointed in the way the situation was handled, Lyles said. If people would just be honest about the things that are going on and what they’re doing – or what their intentions might be – it would have made a huge difference.
It’s tough to feel like you’ve been used and you’ve been thrown away. In retrospect, it might have never been about the service.
How he thought any different from the start of all of this is beyond me. Lyles should have at least picked up on this at some point during this process. These big schools don't care about you.
They care only about the kids who will be playing football, and nowadays, they're going to do whatever it takes to get them.
The Ducks better hope Lyles is just full of it, or else they could be in deep water with the NCAA soon.