What Lies Behind Lyles Settling Oregon Score?

Today Will Lyles delivered a devastating, surgical strike on Chip Kelly and the Oregon football program, leveling allegations against the coach and the school’s football program that may lead to crippling NCAA penalties - and Kelly losing his job.

Will Lyles and Lache Seastrunk

In a meticulous Yahoo Sports report authored by Charles Robinson and Dan Wetzel, Lyles cited varying forms of damning documentation in an obvious bid to ignite an already-smoldering Oregon football program kindled by a current NCAA investigation.

But while Lyles unloaded on Kelly and Oregon, he did nothing of the sort to his other documented clients: LSU and Cal. (Along with multiple high profile football schools he’s rumored to have provided services.)

Lyles provided the following justification to Yahoo for his doing the Ducks the way he did:

Lyles said the past four months have provided clarity on the situation. While he said he never thought he was acting improperly, he understands lines may have been crossed. Whether any NCAA rules were broken that could affect Oregon hardly matters to him. Lyles has lost his business and reputation.

“But those aren’t my rules,” Lyles said. “Those are the NCAA’s rules. Those are Oregon’s rules.”

Lyles said his chief regret is not studying the NCAA bylaws to avoid mistakes that created this scandal. That and trusting that Oregon was chiefly interested in his role as a talent scout, not a recruiting facilitator.

In absolving himself of all blame Lyles, in part, pleaded ignorance when it came to knowledge of NCAA rules.

Perhaps that’s true, but in Yahoo’s same report Lyles said that it was him, not Oregon, who used an intimate knowledge of Texas and Arkansas high school graduation rules - as they pertained to NCAA eligibilty - to enable LaMichael James to sign with Oregon out of high school.

And when Lache Seastrunk’s mother didn’t want her son to attend Oregon, it was Lyles who engineered Seastrunk’s grandmother signing his National Letter of Intent to Oregon - circumventing the desires of Evelyn Seastrunk while still satisfying NCAA rules.

So thanks to Lyles’ awareness of rules governing high school and NCAA student-athletes, Oregon was able to sign Seastrunk and James - which obviously contributed to Lyles getting paid $25,000 by the school.

But Lyles was at his disingenuous best in the latter grafs of today’s Yahoo story:

“I’m very disappointed in the way the situation was handled,” Lyles said. “If people would just be honest about the things that are going on and what they’re doing – or what their intentions might be – it would have made a huge difference. It’s tough to feel like you’ve been used and you’ve been thrown away.

“I felt like my throat was cut and I was left to bleed to death. I felt that there would be some sense of loyalty to me, because I felt I provided a great [recruiting] service.

“In retrospect, it might have never been about the service.”

Let’s recap what happened after Lyles went out of his way to help Kelly and Oregon land the then-highly recruited Seastrunk:

1) Seastrunk ended up at a school where he was unexpectedly redshirted and subsequently - repeatedly - told a reporter on the record at a BCS Championship Game press conference that he wished he had gone to Auburn instead of Oregon.

2) Seastrunk’s mother had no say in where her son attended school.

3) Lyles was paid $25,000.

Lyles was “used and thrown away” by Oregon?

That leads us to why Lyles, in my opinion, threw Oregon - and not his other client schools - under the bus:

Lyles spoke to Kelly on Feb. 28 for nine minutes, according to Lyles’ phone records. On March 3, Yahoo! Sports printed its original report about the school’s payments to scouting services. The two haven’t talked since, Lyles said.

Lyles has maintained contact with Gibson, including a 94-minute call on June 2, according to phone records. Lyles said he asked Gibson about receiving the $25,000 for the 2011-12 service that Kelly had promised. Gibson wouldn’t commit. He later called Clever, the compliance director, about the same issue. Lyles now doubts Oregon will pay.

“I spoke with Josh and I asked him about [the next payment], and he was saying that, ‘Well, you know, we can’t do anything right now,’” Lyles said. “Basically, they pushed me off. I would ask, like, you know, when am I going to get paid? I asked those questions and they just kind of just kept pushing me back, pushing me back, pushing me back.

“Until I called [Assistant Athletic Director of Compliance] Bill Clever on the phone and asked him. I said, ‘I sent the invoice to the football office.’ And he didn’t know what I was talking about.”

Without a client and his name now “mud,” Lyles considers Complete Scouting Services and his professional role in college football to be over.

“It’s a dead business,” he said.

From earlier in the Yahoo story:

Lyles said he spoke with NCAA enforcement staffers for six hours in early May as part of their ongoing investigation. He said he didn’t reveal the stories concerning Kelly, James and Seastrunk to investigators because the specific topics never came up in questioning.

A six-hour interview between the NCAA and Lyles and Kelly, James and Seastrunk “stories” never came up?

If that’s the case, it appears that even after Lyles was unable to procure - despite a 94-minute(!) phone call to Oregon football staffer Josh Gibson - the $25,000 he claims he was owed by the school, he still hadn’t ratted out Kelly and the Ducks until .. now.

But why napalm Oregon today, and not during what Lyles claimed to Yahoo was a six-hour NCAA interview in early May?

Might Oregon’s disastrous document dump earlier this month - which presented Lyles as providing Oregon fraudulent recruiting documents in exchange for $25,000 - have something to do with Lyles suddenly deciding to sing?

From today’s Yahoo report:

Lyles said the past four months have provided clarity on the situation. While he said he never thought he was acting improperly, he understands lines may have been crossed. Whether any NCAA rules were broken that could affect Oregon hardly matters to him. Lyles has lost his business and reputation.

Translation: Had Oregon paid Lyles June 2, 2011, the additional $25,000 he claims Kelly promised him, Lyles wouldn’t have nuked the Oregon program - and possibly Kelly’s coaching career with the Ducks.

So four months after the NCAA launched an investigation of the Oregon football program solely because of Yahoo report that outed Lyles’ dubious relationship with Oregon, and just 18 days before Oregon released the laughable Lyles recruiting documents, Lyles was still trying to score the $25K from Oregon he claims Kelly promised him!

But after the Ducks, at least in Lyles’ brazen, entitled mind, threw him under the bus in more ways than one, it was time for Lyles to settle his personal score with Oregon.

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