NCAA requests scouting services documents from Oregon

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As a direct result of a pair of stories that surfaced within minutes of each Thursday evening, the NCAA is now in the process of scrutinizing Oregon’s relationships with a pair of scouting services, the school announced in a press release Friday.

According to the release, Oregon “contacted the Pacific-10 Conference Friday morning regarding scouting services that specialize in the identification of potential student-athletes.”  As a result of the conversation with the conference, “the athletics department has been asked by the NCAA to provide documents related to the purchase of services provided by scouting agencies contracted by the school’s football program.”

“We have been asked to provide a series of documents by the NCAA and intend to fully cooperate,” athletic director Rob Mullens said in a statement. “I reiterate that it is our belief that the purchase of such services is within the allowable NCAA guidelines.”

At issue is not necessarily the scouting services themselves, but whether any recruits were steered to the school by the services.  In particular, intense scrutiny has fallen on Will Lyles of Complete Scouting Services in Houston, and his relationship with high-profile UO signees.

Lyles was paid $25,000 by Oregon, ostensibly for the recruiting package offered through his scouting service, in March of 2010.  That payment came the month after Lache Seastrunk, who has a close relationship with Lyles, signed a Letter of Intent with the Ducks.  Lyles also has a close relationship with Ducks running back LaMichael James; last December, Lyles was a guest of James at a college football awards show, and described himself as the 2010 Heisman runner-up’s trainer and advisor.

Also contained in Friday night’s release was the pertinent NCAA bylaw that allows schools to pay for scouting services, provided said services meet several requirements.

NCAA Bylaw 13.14.3 states that 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.)

Earlier today, Oregon released to The Oregonian purchase orders pertaining to a pair of scouting services utilized by the school last year — the aforementioned Complete Scouting Services and New Level Athletics.  Those documents can be seen HERE and HERE.

VIDEO: UCF head coach Scott Frost shows off wheels running the option as scout team QB

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In terms of accomplishments as a college football player, few coaches have the resume of Scott Frost.

After all, the now-UCF head coach won a national title back in 1997 with Nebraska and compiled a 24-2 record as a starter with the Cornhuskers. What made him so dangerous? Well, he was the perfect fit for the team’s triple option offense and was one of the best in terms of using his arm and his legs in leading the team to all those wins.

“I love option football,” Frost told the Associated Press “I lived it. I feel like option quarterbacks now are kind of like giant pandas, they only exist in zoos and military academies now.”

That’s particularly relevant this week, as his Knights are set to play Navy on Saturday in a huge AAC matchup that will have an impact on who receives this year’s Group of Five bid. Given how well the boss is at running the option, it seems he decided to put on a helmet and run the scout team offense to better prepare his defense for what they’ll see out of the Midshipmen and signal-caller Zach Abey.

From the looks of things, Frost still has it even if he’s got 20 years on his players.

Ohio State reportedly opting for all-gray alternate uniforms for Penn State game

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Recruiting never stops, even for a blue-blood like Ohio State. That’s one reason why the team is reportedly set to go with an all-gray alternate uniform for the team’s biggest game of the year when Penn State rolls into Columbus.

Team site Eleven Warriors posted that they have obtained images of the retail uniforms the Buckeyes are set to wear, which includes a top that is completely gray with only a sliver of scarlet for the team’s logo on the chest:

OSU opting for alternate uniforms in big games is nothing new for the program under Urban Meyer, especially since a new Nike deal kicked in a while back. They donned some for the Michigan game last season and have worn several versions in other contests. This latest monochrome look, which is still a report and subject to change mind you, still seems a bit bland all things considered.

If nothing else, it could make things very hard for the broadcasters despite all eyes being on the horseshoe for one of the most important Big Ten games of the year.

ESPN apologized to Washington over cupcake stunt during broadcast

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It seems that budding feud between ESPN, Washington and Huskies head coach Chris Petersen is starting to die down just a bit.

ESPN has apologized to the school for a stunt on a broadcast two weeks ago during the Washington-Cal game, in which commentators took the team’s weak non-conference schedule to task and used literal cupcakes to represent the Huskies’ opponents during the first few weeks of the season.

“I felt more like that was such a disrespectful move for the people we play,” athletic director Jen Cohen told the Seattle Times. “For those that do this, we do this because we love the kids. These are somebody’s sons, somebody’s brothers. They’re 18- to 22-year-old kids, and so I was more offended, not for us, as I was for our opponents.

“It was a class act (to apologize), and he made the right call.”

According to the Times, Cohen received a call from Peter Derzis, ESPN’s senior vice president of college sports programming and events, offering the apology.

As nice as the mea culpa was from ESPN, Cohen and Petersen were probably even more elated to hear the news that their October 28 game against UCLA was slated to be televised at 12:30 p.m. PT after an oft-criticized string of night games that made the head coach quite ornery last week. It might not make up for the fact that the team lost to Arizona State on Saturday but there are definitely a few baby steps being taken to repair the relationship between the school and one of the Pac-12’s primary broadcast partners.

Athletic director Tom Jurich officially fired by Louisville board

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It’s official: Tom Jurich is out as Louisville’s athletic director.

The Cardinals board of directors voted 10-3 to oust the embattled AD on Wednesday afternoon, completing a pair of sweeping changes in the department following the growing college basketball scandal that has enveloped the school. Once one of the most powerful people in college athletics, Jurich was fighting to remain in his job ever since he was placed on administrative leave after the U.S. Attorney’s office in New York announced details of a wide-ranging investigation.

Vincent Tyra will continue to serve as acting athletic director until a permanent hire is made.

Perhaps the biggest effect on the football program following Jurich’s ouster is on the contract of Cardinals head coach Bobby Petrino. Notably, his buyout is set to be halved if Jurich was ever fired… which means it could be more likely he leaves the school this offseason for another job. Given potential openings such as Tennessee, it’s not out of the question that the halving of the buyout will come into play for some schools if the dominoes fall in the right way to allow somebody to hire Petrino away.

Oh, and for those wondering, yes that is indeed the Papa John of the pizza chain fame who voted to fire Jurich on Wednesday.