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Oregon AD breaks silence on investigation

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With Pac-12 Media Days just around the corner, reporters will have plenty of opportunities to ask Oregon coach Chip Kelly a question or 10 about the ongoing NCAA investigation surrounding the program’s ties to Willie Lyles and his Houston-based recruiting company, Complete Scouting Services.

Kelly, on the other hand, will get to channel his inner Gene Chizik and say a lot without really saying anything.

But Kelly won’t be the first UO representative to break silence on the matter when he does take the podium. Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens preemptively sent an e-mail to important UO “constituents” informing them that the program is “still in the midst of an extensive review of the circumstances surrounding the use of outside recruiting services” and is taking the investigation “very seriously.”

Specifically, Mullens sent the e-mail to trustees of the University of Oregon Foundation, members of the UO alumni association board of directors and high-roller donors.

Below are some snippets from the e-mail, courtesy of the Eugene Register-Guard:

“The University of Oregon football program, from Coach Chip Kelly through the entire organization, has tremendous respect for the NCAA’s important role in monitoring collegiate athletics and, to this end, continues to fully cooperate with the NCAA’s ongoing review.

“The University of Oregon is committed to holding itself and the individuals associated with the University accountable to the highest standards.

“As part of the University’s commitment to accountability, we want to reiterate that the institution takes this matter very seriously and remains dedicated to an open and transparent approach with the NCAA.”

Additionally…

“The firm [Bond, Schoeneck & King] has been charged with making an independent assessment of the football program’s use of outside recruiting services. In addition, they have been asked to provide the University with recommendations for areas of improvement within the football program and athletics department in order to meet best practices.

“We look forward to making the recommendations public at the conclusion of the process. The University, our Head Coach and the entire Athletic Department are fully committed to ensuring our program is following best practices.”

Oregon has come under scrutiny since March when a story broke that the Ducks paid Lyles $25,000 for his services. Recruiting services are legal within NCAA rules, but according to documents, UO received a “2011 National Package” that was, in essence, completely and utterly useless.

(Writer’s note: I previously stated it was a “2010 National Package”; it was a “2010 National Evaluation”)

An invoice from Lyles to UO also stated that game and highlight footage was part of the package, although the university has yet to release any video.

Other invoices obtained by the Oregonian also show that fellow Pac-12 member Cal received what was described as a “2010 National Package” from Lyles for $5,000, although details of the contents of that package have yet to be released.

Oregon stands by its initial assertion that their business relationship with Lyles is completely within the confines of NCAA bylaws. However, Lyles came out swinging in an interview at the very beginning of this month claiming that Oregon “paid for… my access and influence with recruits”, rather than Lyles’ ability as a scouting professional.

The NCAA could possibly determine that to be a violation of its bylaws.

In March, Kelly claimed that he had cut ties with Lyles, which phone records — and brief moment of “clarification” — indicate to be nothing short of a full-blown lie.

So, what will Kelly say when he’s finally asked about the investigation next week? If he’s learned anything, probably nothing.

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9 Responses to “Oregon AD breaks silence on investigation”
  1. whatswiththehate says: Jul 23, 2011 1:41 PM

    “Kelly will get to channel his inner Gene Chizik and say a lot without really saying anything.”
    ————
    The difference is, Gene Chizik so called NCAA investigation is more TMZ style driven than reality.

    You folks at CFT should know how that works. Push baseless stories by “unnamed sources” then sit then demanding that the accused tell you what you want to hear.

  2. pricecube says: Jul 23, 2011 3:17 PM

    @whatwiththehate

    Were you by any chance on the OJ Simpson jury?

  3. weswelkerspornstash says: Jul 23, 2011 3:32 PM

    I think the invoice actually posted the bill for /Z5,000.00 when it should have been $5,000.00. Damn accounting errors. Good thing it hadn’t turned into a big deal.

  4. mallard82 says: Jul 23, 2011 5:09 PM

    Ken,

    You need to get your facts straight.

    You Wrote:
    “(Writer’s note: I previously stated it was a “2010 National Package”; it was a “2010 National Evaluation”)”

    Even your writer’s note attempting to clarify your previous mistake, is wrong. The preceding paragraph of the story clearly stated it was a “2011” national package. It was not for 2010. How many clarifications does it take you to get it right?

    You also wrote:
    “After Lyles’ interview with Rivals, Kelly claimed that he had previously cut ties with Lyles, which phone records — and brief moment of “clarification” — indicate to be nothing short of a full-blown lie.”

    The only “full-blown lie” is your statement, not Kelley’s. First, Rivals never interviewed Lyles – it was Wetzel and Robinson from Yahoo Sports. And their story on their interview was published July 1st 2011. The phone records you link to shows that the last time Kelley spoke to Lyles was Feb 28th 2011. Kelley subsequently said they had cut ties with Lyles. How does those phone records make Kelley a liar? They don’t.

    And I love how you quote Lyles out of context when you wrote:
    “However, Lyles came out swinging in an interview at the very beginning of this month claiming that Oregon “paid for… my access and influence with recruits”, rather than Lyles’ ability as a scouting professional.” Love the little “….”

    Of course, you omit other parts of the Yahoo interview that are less sensational, such as: “Lyles insists Oregon did not make a direct request or payment to steer recruits to Eugene.”

    Funny how I never see that quote in any of these stories.

  5. duklover says: Jul 23, 2011 6:06 PM

    Second that Mallard!

  6. Ben Kercheval says: Jul 23, 2011 6:30 PM

    mallard

    1) My writer’s note was in reference to previous articles in which I referred to Oregon receiving a “2010 National Package”. it was a ’11 package that should’ve been for ’10 recruits, or in other words, players that were eligible for the ’11 recruiting class by playing high school football in 2010. Thus, it is a “2010 Evaluation” as the cover of the package suggests.

    And, to reiterate, that package contained outdated information.

    2) You are correct that Dan Wetzel and Charles Robinson of Yahoo! News contributed to the interview of Lyles. I identified it as Rivals because Rivals is owned by Yahoo!

    3) The one thing you are 100 percent correct on, and a mistake for which I will take full responsibility, is saying that Kelly claimed to cut ties with Lyles after the interview. We published Oregon’s response after the interview, but Kelly’s statement was made in early March according to a report from the Oregonian. That’s an error on my part.

    4) in that statement Kelly said he and Oregon have distanced themselves from Lyles. The phone records that you visited are still accurate, although it appears the Oregonian has since pulled a fast one and individually identified calls made by Kelly and Campbell. I don’t believe it was like that before.

    Regardless, Oregon still had contact with Lyles on March 3 several times — the same day the Yahoo! report came out. Hardly cutting ties.

    5) Lyles does insist that he didn’t “steer” recruits to Oregon. I’ve stated that previously. HERE. Still if Oregon paid for his influence on recruits, that is still teetering on the edge of what is an allowable recruiting practice.

    6) Don’t call me Ken

  7. funkyduckptown says: Jul 23, 2011 11:01 PM

    Kenneth:
    Mallard is spot on. Your just a hype artist, like the rest of the media (ESPECIALLY IN OUR LOCAL MARKET!!) This is sooo old news.

    You just want to protect your BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP with NOTRE DAM. Talk about breaking ncaa rules!! how does THIS happen.

    Same with the Long Horn NotWork. Just a clever way (have to had it to them) to influence recruits!

    Go back to journalism school (did you) Kenny.
    Funk!

  8. weswelkerspornstash says: Jul 24, 2011 1:27 PM

    I assume Cliff is acceptable?

  9. cosanostra71 says: Jul 25, 2011 4:38 AM

    @mallard:

    of course Lyles says he didn’t steer recruits to Oregon.

    Reggie Bush also says he didn’t do anything wrong at USC.

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