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Willie Lyles meets with NCAA to discuss relationship with Oregon

LaMichael James, James Dockery

Willie Lyles, owner of the Houston-based Complete Scouting Services, reportedly met with the NCAA today to discuss his business relationship with the University of Oregon, a source close to the situation has confirmed to the Eugene Register-Guard.

Lyles was featured on a podcast earlier today with Yahoo! Sports columnist Dan Wetzel in which Lyles told Wetzel he was meeting with NCAA investigators.

Lyles said it was the second such meeting with the NCAA, the first being in May when he was, by his own account, interviewed “for six hours”.

The specifics of the NCAA’s agenda earlier today is still unknown, but the heart of their investigation into Oregon’s football program surrounds the suspicion that Lyles steered certain recruits — namely, running backs Laches Seastrunk (now at Baylor) and LaMichael James — to sign with the Ducks in exchange for financial compensation from the school.

Both Lyles and Oregon have denied that Lyles “steered” recruits.

But when UO released scouting information provided by Lyles — known as a “2011 National Package” — that was shown to contain no recruits for that year’s class, it caught the attention of the national media. Likewise, the school’s $25,000 invoice for the useless information caught the attention of the NCAA.

Lyles has previously stated to Yahoo! that Oregon paid that amount for his “access and influence with recruits” and that he “scrambled” to put together the aforementioned national package.

From the July 1 interview:

“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.”

Lyles told Wetzel in the most recent podcast that he provided both outdated and legitimate information to his clients, with most of the useful information reportedly being verbal.

From the Register-Guard:

“He also talked about his $6,000 transaction with LSU, ostensibly for a junior college scouting package for the states of California and Kansas. Lyles said he provided LSU instead with information on Texas high school recruits, and that the junior-college package was a way for LSU to skirt a rule about purchasing only one package per state.”

Oregon, LSU and Cal are all clients of Lyles; the former two have been under the most scrutiny for their business connection to Lyles. Incidentally, the two are playing each other this Saturday in an opening-weekend top-five matchup that many have dubbed “The Lyles Bowl”.

While there’s no bylaw against a bad business relationship with a scouting service, there are questions if Oregon bent the rules of allowable recruiting practices — and if so, by how much.

That’s for the NCAA to decide; Oregon and coach Chip Kelly have maintained throughout the investigation that they have done nothing wrong.


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5 Responses to “Willie Lyles meets with NCAA to discuss relationship with Oregon”
  1. webfootdoug58 says: Aug 31, 2011 1:22 AM

    As a long-time Oregon fan I’m saddened and appalled by the various problems our team is facing these days. However, the fact is, the state of Oregon, for certain reasons, produces very few BCS level athletes, so we have to keep pushing, pushing, pushing to find enough high-quality recruits nationwide to maintain our football success.
    Sometimes, as in this Lyles case, it can get ugly.

    On the other hand, lets’ also remember that sometimes the system works– outstanding student-athletes sign with far-away Oregon because we have a lot to offer them, and some of them eventually leave here after outstanding careers both athletically, socially, and academically.

    The intense competition to find and maintain outstanding players is a nationwide problem which leads to numerous shortcuts, as the various NCAA investigations show, and we all need to work together to clean up college sports.

  2. squackduckhawk says: Aug 31, 2011 2:38 AM

    As a homer I have to say that I think that the Ducks did no wrong. The only other school that showed serious interest in LMJ was TCU. Objectively, I will say the Seastrunk portion smells fishy. He was wanted by many and even I questioned why he would choose Oregon after LMJ and Barner had shined in their collective freshman campaigns. A lot of Pac 12 schools have made big recruiting pushes in Texas as of recent years. Oregon’s traditional recruiting problem is that most of the superior athletes in California Go to USC, UCLA, or Cal. Oregon is new on the national stage. There are defintely going to be some growing pains. If we blatantly violated the rules then we should be punished accordingly. My gut tells me that the only thing these three football programs have in common (besides a certain affinity for yellow) is that they were ripped off by a scumbag.

  3. soflatrojan says: Aug 31, 2011 8:22 AM

    Reports of Lyles being a street agent surfaced long before Seastrunk. Seastrunk was a heavy lean to USC and when Kiffin came in he immediately pulled the offer to Seastrunk. The fact Kiffin pulled an offer from a 5* running back should tell you all you need to know. Oregon knew exactly what they were doing when it came to getting involved with Lyles and they didn’t care. Unless Lyles shows up to the NCAA offices dressed head to toe in Nike gear Oregon is in trouble.

    There are two things going for Oregon;

    1. Nike will spend any amount of money to defend Oregon and is also a very influential company in the sports industry.
    2. The new commissioner of the PAC 12 is not going to allow his 2 top football programs to be hammered by the NCAA while everyone else walks. I think if Scott would have been around during the whole USC investigation and not just the very end USC would have not gotten sanctioned so hard.

    The two things going against Oregon would be a disgruntled street agent a bitter 3rd string running back. I am sure both will be more than happy to try and bring Oregon down.

    It will be interesting to see what happens when Emmert has to start answering questions about his old employer LSU.

  4. thepar46 says: Aug 31, 2011 11:18 AM

    @soflatojan:So you must be in CKs office,is that why you say Oregon knew,no what you have taken what the media has been reporting,and like the media put the old SPIN on it to come up with a story you know nothing at all about.I understand you are a USC CONDOM fan.Here is what we know for sure is going to happen,when your condoms come to Autzen “THE DUCKS”will POP them just like they have the last two years! So put that in your pipe and smoke it MORON”O”GO DUCKS”

  5. soflatrojan says: Aug 31, 2011 1:07 PM


    The talk about Lyles was out there far before the media started reporting it. I find it impossible to believe that CK was the last to know.

    Please win a bowl game before you start to pump out your chest. Yes U of Zero has had a lot of success against USC. But your bowl record and OOC record against quality opponents is what leads to the perception the PAC 12 is a weak conference. At least USC has handled business when we play the big boys. Have you beaten anyone out OOC and on the road?

    Boise – lost twice
    Ohio State- lost
    Auburn – lost
    LSU- Will lose

    This is ironic coming from a Duck fan
    “So put that in your pipe and smoke it “

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