Oregon Football Mess: Bigger Than North Carolina and Ohio State?

Alex FergusonSenior Analyst IIJuly 3, 2011

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 10:  The Oregon Ducks cheerleaders perform before taking on the Auburn Tigers in the Tostitos BCS National Championship Game at University of Phoenix Stadium on January 10, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

At the time that Terrelle Pryor was leaving The Ohio State University, we heard rumblings from Twitter (and in particular OSU writer Script Ohio) that there were going to be some very, very serious things happening at the University of Oregon.

We didn't know what it was—and instead of jumping in at the deep end, we waiting around for the whole story before publishing. After all, this website's not exactly CNN and we're going to be producing copy every day for the start of the season proper, with everything from Penn State previews to The Most Hated List to opinions on who's going to win every conference (Hint: Colorado ISN'T going to win the Pac-12).

So the story is this: Apparently Oregon was feeling that it was little behind in the recruiting, so it paid $25,000 to a recruiting guy called Willie Lyles for his influence with recruits—and this may have helped running back Lache Seastrunk come to Oregon.

Particularly—as the Yahoo report notes—Seastrunk's mother didn't really want him going out west. (Oregon apparently got Seastrunk to get his grandmother to sign his letter of intent, rather than Mom. Oh, to be a fly on the wall at Christmas in Seastrunk household, eh?)

For 11 months, Oregon did nothing and Lyles did not provide another piece of work for Oregon.

But the relationship between the U of O and Lyles didn't stop there. In 2007, he helped then Oregon recruit and hotshot running back recruit LaMichael James avoid certain tests that would have made him fail his high school qualification (in this we sympathise, LaMichael, because we're crappy at math too), he moved to Arkansas from Texas, as well as the transfer of a couple of other people.

Anyway, the bad news for Ducks fans is that Chip Kelly apparently approved all of this.

Oh. Dear. U of O. Dear.

How does this compare to Ohio State and North Carolina?

Kelly—like Jim Tressel—looks as though he's going to be in the crapper for this. We'd frankly be stunned if Oregon will have a head coach in September, but we'd also be stunned if the NCAA don't knock off some scholarships for this.

The big issue—as was in the case of the University of North Carolina—is whether there was a lack of "institutional control." We'd argue that if Oregon was knowingly paying $25,000 to recruiting experts for all kinds of services, that cuts pretty close to the line. But then again, somehow Tar Heel Nation got off, didn't it?