It’s been nearly a year since anything relevant has surfaced on the NCAA’s investigation of the Oregon football program as it relates to Willie Lyles.
Based on one report, that could very well change once the calendar flips from 2012 to 2013..
Oregon had been crossing every available appendage in the hope that the probe into its program would end in a summary disposition, with the NCAA agreeing to UO’s findings on rules violations and sanctions and end a saga that’s nearly two years in the making. That apparently won’t be the case as Yahoo! Sports is reporting that the school’s bid for a summary disposition has failed, which will trigger an appearance in front of the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions.
While the exact date of the hearing is not yet known, Yahoo! reports that it will likely take place in the spring. UO received its Letter of Inquiry from the NCAA in September of 2011.
In March of 2011, both Yahoo! and ESPN.com published reports that called into question the financial relationship between Oregon and a pair of so-called recruiting services. One of those services was/is Complete Scouting Services, solely owned and operated by purported “street agent” Willie Lyles.
In late February of 2010, Oregon purchased for $25,000 from Lyles’ scouting service what was described as a “2011 National Package” that detailed recruits from several states. One of the biggest problems with that? The package for 2011 purchased by UO contained zero recruits that would make up the following year’s recruiting class. Instead, the vast majority of players highlighted in the 143-page book UO received from Lyles contained data on members of the 2009 recruiting class.
In the midst of rumors that Lyles had steered recruits such as Lache Seastrunk to the Ducks — and that he was paid handsomely for said steering (allegedly) — the man at the center of the controversy claimed in July of 2011 that UO “paid for what they saw as my access and influence with recruits. 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.”
This latest development comes amid speculation that Ducks head coach Chip Kelly could be headed to the NFL following the completion of the 2012 season. Such a move would be eerily reminiscent of another Pac-12 head coach leaving for the for the next level amid a lingering NCAA cloud; shortly before the NCAA hammered the USC program for violations, Pete Carroll, in a move that should be considered nothing more than a coincidence winkwink nudgenudge, left for the Seattle Seahawks.