It’s been quite a while since we’ve had any type of illicit and/or impermissible benefit accusations lobbed by former players, so let’s just go ahead and dive headfirst into this one.
SBNation.com took an excellent long-form look Wednesday at Colt Lyerla, the former Oregon Duck who is attempting to put his personal and football-playing life back together following an October arrest for cocaine possession. That arrest came three weeks or so after he left the Oregon football program under what the player described as “good terms.”
Whether the terms will be good moving forward remains to be seen.
During the course of the profile, Lyerla spoke of the recruiting process leading up to signing with Oregon. Specifically, Lyerla talked about how he was close to signing with USC… until an offer was put on the table he — or more specifically his mother — couldn’t refuse.
[His and his high school athletic director] enthusiasm dampened when an unofficial adviser weighed in. Lyerla declines publicly to identify the man, a powerful University of Oregon booster known to the family. The adviser made the benefits of that decision clear. If Lyerla went to Oregon, “I was promised a house, a car, all these things.”
Lyerla knew the man had the means to deliver on his guarantees. Tammy knew that as well, too, and now she leaned on her son to sign with the Ducks, a change Lyerla believes was made with the best intentions, but inspired by her precarious living situation. “All of a sudden, it was ‘You need to go to Oregon. That’s the best place for you. They’re going to take care of you,’ he says. “My mom was really impressionable. When it was me and my mom in high school, it was $600 a month for the both of us. That’s how we lived … anything good financial-wise that would take care of me or take care of her, she was going to go for it.”
“I was kind of not enticed, but almost entrapped by [the booster],” Lyerla was quoted as saying. Lyerla, who went undrafted in May and was cut by the Green Bay Packers in August following an injury, said he initially attempted to get out of his signed National Letter of Intent in order to play for the Trojans, but ultimately changed course and begrudgingly remained in Eugene.
But, the benefits he recei… well, not only did Lyerla not get to go to the school of his choice, but he didn’t even get the benefits allegedly promised to him.
He never received any of the benefits that were promised to him, not the house and not the car. “It ended up being the exact opposite,” he says. “I didn’t get any of that. There were always excuses as to why I didn’t get those things — [like] I wasn’t doing [something] right. I felt played.”