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.