More Payments Link Baylor Coach, LSU To Lyles

Joseph Duarte of the HOUSTON CHRONICLE today profiled Willie Lyles, the Houston-based recruiting service operator at the center of an NCAA investigation into the recruiting practices of the Oregon football program.

Art Briles coached Houston program paid Lyles company $10,000 in 2007

From Duarte’s July 8, 2011, piece in the Chronicle:

Lyles said he had informal conversations with other schools, among them the University of Houston and Rice, about purchasing his service. He occasionally contacted UH to recommend players “that they should look at” in an effort to build a relationship, but the school decided not to purchase his recruiting package.

The University of Houston football program may have not purchased a recruiting package from Complete Scouting Services, the company Lyles set up in late 2009 with Oregon football coach Chip Kelly’s blessing, but UH is documented to have made a $10,000 payment to a recruiting services company which employed Lyles at the time of the financial transaction.

In a Yahoo Sports report on July 1, 2011, Charles Robinson and Dan Wetzel reported how Lyles first met Kelly:

Lyles said he first met Kelly in 2007, when he worked as a Texas-area scout for Muscle Sports, (MSL) a New York-based service.

A search of the official website of the state of Texas comptroller revealed today that the University of Houston paid “MSL Combines” $10,000 during the 2007 fiscal year. (Before Oct. 17, 2007.)

On Nov. 28, 2007, former University of Houston football coach Art Briles left the school to take over as the head football coach at Baylor.

The 2008 Baylor football recruiting class included star quarterback Robert Griffin III, who had previously committed to Houston, and former Texas high school prospect Kendall Wright, who this week was named to the 2011 preseason watch list for the Biletnikoff Award.

Current Bears QB Griffin visited Oregon during his recruitment in 2007 and said on July 13, 2007, “During the season I’m going to try to take officials [official recruiting visits] to LSU, Stanford and Washington State.”

Like the Briles-coached UH Cougars, LSU also reportedly paid MSL Combines $10,000 in 2007. Former Texas A&M assistant coach Van Malone recently alleged that Lyles asked him for $80,000 in 2007 in exchange for delivering high profile recruit Patrick Peterson to the Aggies.

Peterson ultimately sign with LSU.

In 2007, Lyles was a MSL colleague of current Florida-based recruiting service operator Charles Fishbein.

In 2008, Fishbein started Elite Scouting Services (ESS). Of that transition, Fishbein told reporter Justin Hopkins of three days ago: Read more…

Tom Penders Out As Houston Basketball Coach

Tom Penders is out as head basketball coach at the University of Houston.

Tom Penders fired by Houston

A college basketball source told me that in a meeting with UH Athletic Director Mack Rhoades today, the 64-year-old Penders was given the option of being reassigned within the athletic department, resign or be fired. Penders has chosen to resign.

A press conference has been scheduled for Monday to make the announcement.
Rhoades has hired Laurie Wilder of Parker Executive Search to reach out to potential candidates for the job. That process is currently underway. Perhaps not coincidentally, Parker Executive Search is the same firm that placed Rhoades at Houston.

Read more…

Um, Houston’s Not Done Using Helmets This Year

As we mentioned this morning (and as you probably saw this weekend), Houston took down Texas Tech - their second Big XII victim in as many games - and sent the Red Raiders into a Tweet-filled tailspin. On the other sideline, though, the mood was decidedly different; this is usually the case whenever one team wins and another loses, according to our resident expert Dr. Obvious.

Houston Cougars fans
(Bigger fan FAIL: the thefts, or that fake-tattoo-armband of the Cougar logo?)

But Houston fans - or at least a couple of them - have a strange way of showing their support for the program. Ordinarily, after all, one doesn’t make the mental connection between “I am going to run onto the field because I am so proud of this team for whom I’ve spent a substantial sum of money on tickets” and “I am now going to steal very important things from this team while I am on their field.” But as you might imagine, these are not ordinary times in Houston, and now coach Kevin Sumlin is asking all 645 of his Twitter followers for a little help.

Read more…

Upset Red Raiders Earn Texas Tech A Twitter Ban

[UPDATE: According to the ASSOCIATED PRESS, in the least surprising coaching move ever, Mike Leach has banned his players from using Twitter. Expect this to be commonplace before the season is through.]

It’s pretty easy to have a certain amount of sympathy for Texas Tech after last weekend. After all, despite being an unranked team on the road against ranked Houston, the Red Raiders were still only one-point underdogs to the Cougars. It was a game for the taking, and Tech nearly did so.

Marlon Williams deleted Tweet Texas Tech
(via TWELETED, which is an evil little website.)

Nearly doesn’t cut it, though, and Tech lost, partly due to Mike Leach’s questionable (yet ever-Leach-like) playcalling. 4th and goal at the 1 with a chance to put his team up by two scores in the fourth quarter? Best believe Leach is taking it. Unfortunately, the play failed, Houston took over only down five points instead of eight, and the final score was 29-28, Cougars. Whoops.

So the Red Raiders lost, and angry football player smash whenever that happens. The players’ decision to involve Twitter, however, likely spells the end of that privilege.

Read more…

CFB Update #2: Michigan-ND Exciting Once Again

For past two seasons, the once-mighty Michigan-Notre Dame rivalry has been mighty crappy. There was ND’s 35-17 wipeout of the Wolverines in South Bend last season, and then there was UM’s 38-0 a$$-whooping of the Irish in Ann Arbor the season before that. So you’d figure that today’s matchup in the Big House would be a big bore.

Michigan Notre Dame

Big mistake to assume that. Like two aging heavyweights whose glory days appeared to have been behind them, Michigan & Notre Dame traded punches all afternoon (figurative, not literal) as the score see-sawed back & forth. But it was the Maize & Blue who managed the final knockout blow, as Tate Forcier tossed a 5-yard TD pass to Greg Matthews with 11 seconds left. So Hail to the Victors in a 38-34 thriller.

(Time to get those Charlie Weis-bashing billboards back up.)

Speaking of knockouts, another top-5 team from the Sooner state took another tumble on the field in an upset loss.

Read more…

Freaky Lacrosse Fight Adds Joy To Your Tuesday

This is probably the most amazing sports fight video I’ve ever seen; not because of the ferocity or even the number of people involved, but just because it’s so freaking weird. First of all it’s lacrosse, where you never expect a fight to break out; I always assumed that lacrosse sticks doubled as butterfly nets.

But look at this thing (video below). You’ve got small groups of players duking it out, then you’ve got guys pairing up for their own private fisticuffs away from the main action. And this happens four or five times with different players, with fat guys in black shirts watching like professional wrestling referees. Most surprising of all: No one is using their sticks. Read more…

College ADs Make More Than You Can Imagine

If you needed any proof of just how much of a business so-called “pure” college sports is — well, the mere existence of bowl games. But also check out the salaries of the athletic directors at big sports schools - some can top a million dollars a year. Remind me again why the athletes aren’t getting a piece of this pie?

NCAA Money

BLOOMBERG NEWS, by filing public records requests, published a list of the AD’s pay at most major public schools, and the numbers are eyepopping. Jeremy Foley at Florida makes a base salary of $935,000, not including benefits or bonuses. Joe Castiglione, his counterpart at Oklahoma, only makes $700,000. I wish I had known this information before wagering on the game. (More fun facts and figures that’ll just piss you off, after the jump.)

Read more…

Edwards To Sue (Discounted) Pants Off Marshall?

Shane Bacon at FANHOUSE cites a report from something called the INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS TIMES that indicates U. of Houston wide receiver Patrick Edwards may sue for damages after his horrific injury last night.

Houston Reciever Breaks Leg Patrick Edwards On Equipment Cart

Edwards suffered a compound fracture of his left lower leg after running into an equipment cart behind an end zone during the Houston-Marshall game.

No lawsuit had been spelled out in initial reporting on the story. So the report from the Times is the first indication that Edwards could be interested in legal action. Read more…

Video: Wide Receiver Suffers Compound Fracture

Tuesday night Houston played Marshall on ESPN. Like you, I didn’t much care about the result of the game.

Houston Reciever Breaks Leg Patrick Edwards On Equipment Cart

I care even less after seeing this gruesome injury. The HOUSTON CHRONICLE has the sad details after the jump, along with video. Read more…