Tag:Will Lyles
Posted on: February 24, 2012 6:53 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2012 6:54 pm
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Oregon acknowledges NCAA violations in documents

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Oregon is dealing with several NCAA issues stemming from former scout Will Lyles and certainly knows when to dump release information regarding the case. The school released two heavily redacted documents late Friday afternoon to local papers as part of an open records request, detailing proposed findings of violations and shining a little light on an investigation that has been going on for several months following a Yahoo! Sports investigative report released last March.

According to the Eugene Register-Guard, the Oregon athletic department agreed that the football program did not follow NCAA bylaws and was not adequately monitored regarding use of recruiting/scouting services. The "proposed findings of violations" were sent from the NCAA enforcement staff to the school but is not a formal Notice of Allegations, which the report noted had not been received as of Friday.

At least three services did not conform to NCAA rules according to the documents and the program exceeded the number of permitted coaches recruiting by one between 2009 and 2011. Head coach Chip Kelly is believed to be near the center of the probe regarding his involvement. The school has retained attorney Michael Glazier, a partner in the firm Bond, Schoeneck & King, for his expertise in dealing with NCAA cases.

Oregon received a notice of inquiry in September to mark the formal start of the NCAA investigation into the Ducks' recruiting and use of scouting services. Lyles has claimed, among other things, that the school paid him $25,000 for influence with recruits in the state of Texas.

Posted on: January 23, 2012 2:59 am
Edited on: January 23, 2012 1:52 pm
 

Chip Kelly jumps from Oregon to the NFL and back


Posted by Bryan Fischer

UPDATE: Oregon released an official statement from Chip Kelly on Monday, confirming both Kelly's contact with the Tampa Bay Buccanneers and his plans to remain as the Ducks' head coach.

“I am flattered by the interest of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ organization," Kelly explained.  "I enjoyed meeting with the Glazer family and General Manager Mark Dominik but after numerous discussions, I concluded that I have some unfinished business to complete at the University of Oregon.”

“The Tampa Bay Buccaneers asked for permission to engage in conversation with Coach Kelly, which was granted,” Oregon Athletics Director Rob Mullens said. “The University of Oregon is one of the nation's preeminent college football programs and, as such, it comes as no surprise the NFL is interested in our personnel. We are pleased with Coach Kelly’s decision to remain as our head coach. Coach Kelly has provided great leadership and remains committed to building on our position among the elite college football programs in the country.”



Two sources with direct knowledge of the talks told CBSSports.com that Oregon head coach Chip Kelly had agreed in principle to take the same position with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and was in the process of finalizing details of a multi-year contract but has changed is mind and will stay at Oregon. The Register-Guard first reported the news of Kelly's departure and that he would be staying in Eugene Sunday night.

"I don't know what to say... he changed his mind," one source said via text message.

News of the possible departure first surfaced during the middle of Sunday's NFC Championship Game with a report from Portland TV station KGW sports reporter Michael Berk. Tampa Bay fired head coach Raheem Morris in January after 10 straight losses to cap a 17-31 mark over three seasons.

Kelly, 48, is coming off the most successful three-year stretch in Oregon history, capped off with the program's first Rose Bowl victory in 95 years at the beginning of this year. The Ducks are 34-6 in three seasons with Kelly as head coach, including three straight BCS bowls and an appearance in the national championship game in 2011. He came to Eugene as offensive coordinator in 2007 after spending eight seasons at New Hampshire and promptly set a host of school and conference records on the offensive side of the ball.

Numerous questions surround the timing of the move to Tampa Bay, beginning with Oregon's still-open NCAA investigation into recruiting violations surrounding supposed scout Willie Lyles. Kelly is believed to be at the center of the probe regarding, among other things, a $25,000 payment to Lyles for scouting services and any improprieties surrounding former Ducks running back Lache Seastrunk. The school has retained attorney Michael Glazier, a partner in the firm Bond, Schoeneck & King with the nickname 'The Cleaner' for his expertise in dealing with NCAA cases. Oregon received a notice of inquiry in September.

There is also the issue as to whether Kelly's fast-paced spread option offense can translate to the NFL. The Ducks have finished in the top 12 in the country in scoring offense since he took over the reigns and he's terrorized Pac-12 defensive coordinators with an explosive run game and quick passing game. Kelly has zero NFL experience but has not exactly been shy about jumping up a level, telling multiple people that he's wanted to coach in the league at some point in his career. According to The Oregonian he was making around $2.8 million per year under a recently re-worked contract with a buyout in the neighborhood of $3.5 million.

Multiple reports said Kelly was pulled off the road and did not make scheduled in-home visits on Sunday as his contract was being negotiated with the Bucs.



Posted on: November 8, 2011 7:24 pm
 

Oregon releases more Will Lyles documents

Posted by Bryan Fischer

With most of the college football world focused on the developing story at Penn State, Oregon found a convenient time to release multiple documents related to their ongoing NCAA investigation into the football program's relationship with scout Willie Lyles and possible recruiting violations.

According to the The Oregonian, the pages and pages of documents detail aspects of the combined NCAA and school investigations and include scouting reports, the cell phone records of head coach Chip Kelly, an invoice from the law firm Bond, Schoeneck & King - which is conducing the school's internal investigation - and email exchanges.

Also included was correspondence from attorney Michael Glazier, a partner in Bond, Schoeneck & King, indicating that he expected the firm to conclude it internal investigation by November of this year at the latest, and correspondence relating to NCAA interviews with Lyles.

The school released email exchanges between Glazier, Ron Barker, Pac-12 associate commissioner for governance and enforcement; Steve Duffin, NCAA associate director of enforcement; Angie Cretors, NCAA associate director of agents, gambling and amateurism activities; Bill Clever, UO executive assistant athletic director for compliance, and James O'Fallon, UO law professor emeritus and the athletic department's faculty rep, about interviews with UO coach Chip Kelly, and Josh Gibson and Jim Fisher, both assistant directors for football operations.

The NCAA is looking at Lyles, a Houston-based football scout, and his relationship with several current and former Oregon players from the state of Texas such as LaMichael James, Lache Seastrunk and Dontae Williams. Lyles met with enforcement staff members in Los Angeles in late August to talk about the case. Following the meeting, USC assistant coach Willie Mack Garza abruptly resigned from his position after being connected to the probe after it was discovered he wired Lyles money for an unofficial visit while coaching at Tennessee.

The issue at the heart of the case stems from whether Oregon's $25,000 payment to Lyles for a national scouting package was similar to what it paid for other comparable packages. An invoice from Digital Sports Video Inc., of Aliso Viejo, Calif., was released to The Oregonian Tuesday showing at least one other scouting service billed the school $25,000 for scouting services.

Oregon received a verbal notice of inquiry from the NCAA in September.
Posted on: September 27, 2011 2:16 am
 

Report: Former Vols assistant wired cash to Lyles

Posted by Adam Jacobi

USC fans wondering why former assistant Willie Mack Garza resigned so abruptly two days before the start of this season now have an answer -- and that answer has a paper trail. According to a report by Yahoo Sports, Willie Lyles informed NCAA investigators that Garza had wired him $1,500 in 2009 to get coveted tailback Lache Seastrunk onto the Tennessee campus for an unofficial visit; Garza had been an assistant of Lane Kiffin at UT at that point, before Kiffin brought Garza with him to USC's staff in 2010.

On unofficial visits, recruits and their families are responsible for all costs incurred, so if Garza supplied that money to Lyles for the purposes of getting Seastrunk to campus, that's a serious violation of NCAA rules. Whether Garza gave money to Lyles is not in question, though; Yahoo Sports has a copy of the Moneygram record of that transaction, and sure enough, there's $1,500 going from Garza to Lyles. Being that Lyles himself told the NCAA that the money was to pay for Seastrunk's plane tickets, which totaled $1,446.80 in a purchase two weeks prior to the Moneygram transaction, there doesn't appear to be much wiggle room for Garza.

CBSSports.com first reported that Garza's departure from USC was related to an NCAA probe of Tennessee's recruiting practices on the day that Garza resigned, on September 1. That report has now been proven accurate by this Yahoo story. 

For Garza's efforts above and beyond the NCAA guidelines, Tennessee didn't get much; not only did Seastrunk not commit to the Volunteers, of course, he didn't even take an official visit to Knoxville once it was time to make those choices. Seastrunk famously chose Oregon over Auburn in a recruiting process that still leaves a sour taste in Tigers fans' mouths to this day, and once the reports surfaced of Lyles maintaining close relationship with recruits even while getting paid large sums of money by the schools recruiting them, Seastrunk ended up transferring to Baylor.

For as bad as this report makes Garza look in the eyes of the NCAA, however, the real entity in danger here is Tennessee; that athletic department was hit with a failure to monitor charge in August among various major infractions perpetrated by then-head basketball coach Bruce Pearl, and the program is nowhere near completing its two years of probation handed down by the NCAA. If the NCAA finds this to be another egregious flouting of recruiting regulations, Tennessee is liable to be considered a "repeat offender" by the Committee on Infractions, and that easily could mean serious, long-lasting consequences for the entire athletic department.
Posted on: September 8, 2011 10:59 am
Edited on: September 8, 2011 9:50 pm
 

Report: LSU WR Shepard serving 3-game suspension

Posted by Chip Patterson

UPDATE: The suspension and Shepard's eligibility for the West Virginia game were confirmed by Michael Bonnette, LSU's SID, on Thursday.

After uncertain compliance issues held LSU wide receiver Russell Shepard out of the Tigers' opener against Oregon, local reports suggest the talented wide receiver is serving a three-game suspension and will return for the Tigers Sept. 24 matchup with West Virginia.

Sources have confirmed to both The Times Picayune and the Associated Press that Shepard's punishment for violation of an NCAA rule will be three games, including the opener against the Ducks. Shepard jeopardized his eligibility by discussing the details of an NCAA investigation with teammate Craig Loston. The investigation was centered around the infamous Will Lyles, who was paid by LSU - along with Oregon, Cal, and others - for recruiting services.

The touted junior will be an immediate upgrade to the Tigers' offense, which currently lacks that big-play threat that you would want on a National Championship contender. Everything else about the Tigers' performance on Saturday suggested that they deserve to be in that discussion, but there was not evidence that the offense is prepared to put up points quickly. Getting him back for the trip to Morgantown to face Dana Holgorsen and the high-powered West Virginia offense could end up being a difference-maker in an otherwise trap-game scenario.
Posted on: September 2, 2011 3:17 pm
 

The Saturday Meal Plan: Week 1

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The Saturday Meal Plan is a helpful guide put together for you to maximize the results of your college football diet.  Just enough to leave you feeling full, but not so much you spend your entire Sunday in the bathroom.

While Thursday and Friday night serve as delicious appetizers for the new college football season, one that feels like it took forever to get here, the big games start on Saturday. Since it's been a while since you planted your behind on a couch on a Saturday morning and stayed there all day, you're probably going to need some help navigating through the day.

So lucky for you, the Eye On College Football crew has brought the Saturday Meal Plan back. It's your weekly menu of which games should be on your plate and where you can find them.

BREAKFAST

#18 Ohio State vs. Akron - ESPN, 12pm ET

So many questions for Ohio State on Saturday. Will the Luke Fickell-era offense look any different? Who's going to shine between QBs Joe Bauserman and Braxton Miller? How much will the team miss its eight suspended players? Does Akron stand a chance anyway? - Adam Jacobi

#23 Auburn vs. Utah State - ESPN2, 12pm ET

Despite some close calls, Auburn hasn't lost to a school outside the current BCS conferences since Southern Miss upset the Tigers back in 1991. (USM's quarterback that day was a guy named Brett Favre, who would later become famous for inventing the cell phone camera.) So it's going to take a very good team by WAC standards to break that streak, and the Aggies -- the WAC's sixth-place finisher a year ago, now without star quarterback Diondre Borel -- very likely aren't that team. Most of the drama on the Auburn sidelines should concern which of their FBS-high 16 new starters look ready for their close-up, most notably new quarterback Barrett Trotter. But if Trotter and the other Tiger cubs come out nervous -- particularly the true sophomore defensive tackle pairing of Jeffrey Whitaker and Kenneth Carter, who could have their hands full with USU's veteran line -- things could stay competitive for longer than Gene Chizik would like. - Jerry Hinnen

Boston College vs. Northwestern - ESPNU, 12pm ET

You never like to start the season with injury concerns, and that this case for the star player on both these rosters. Northwestern quarterback Dan Persa was listed as "questionable" for Saturday's opener as he continues to recover from an achilles injury that ended his 2010 campaign, but popular belief seems to be that he will see the field. Boston College running back Montel Harris underwent his second arthroscopic knee surgery and will miss the game. Making matters even more difficult for the Eagles was an ankle sprain to talented backup Andre Williams. Williams will start and appears ready to go, but there will be more pressure on quarterback Chase Rettig to establish a passing attack against the Northwestern defense. Don't expect Persa to get any easy looks from the Boston College defense, led by All-American linebacker Luke Kuechly. - Chip Patterson

LUNCH

#16 Notre Dame vs. South Florida - NBC, 3:30pm ET

Year Two of the Brian Kelly Era in South Bend gets under way in a game against a former Notre Dame coach, and the son of the man who last brought a national championship to the school, Skip Holtz. There's a lot to look at in this game for both teams. Namely, will Notre Dame finally start to live up to the expectations placed on it every season, and which B.J. Daniels is going to show up for South Florida? - Tom Fornelli

#25 USC vs. Minnesota - ABC/ESPN2, 3:30pm ET

Perhaps it is saying something about how quiet Lane Kiffin has been at USC that one of the more notable things about this game is actually about the opposing coach. The Jerry Kill era begins in earnest on the road and he brings a Minnesota team that barely resembles the one that lost to the Trojans a year ago. The Gophers will compete with dual-threat MarQueis Gray at quarterback and a solid linebacking corps but it will be a tough task to pull of the upset against the firepower of the USC offense. Matt Barkley and Robert Woods are a fun pair to watch while Trojan fans will be nervous to see if the defense looks any better than it did last year. - Bryan Fischer

Michigan vs. Western Michigan - ABC/ESPN2, 3:30 pm ET

It's a new era for Michigan -- again -- and Brady Hoke's charges are going to face a stiff challenge from MAC stalwarts Western Michigan. Yes, seriously. The Wolverines probably won't be suffering for points with Denard Robinson leading the new offense, but the Broncos are more than capable of hanging around in this one, as standout QB Alex Carder should find plenty of opportunities to advance the ball through the air. Keep an eye on this one for some possible afternoon fireworks. - AJ

Ole Miss vs. BYU - ESPN, 4:45pm ET

Life in the SEC West isn't easy for anybody, but if Ole Miss is going to get to six wins and back to a bowl game this year, then this is one of those games the Rebels need to win. Though it's not like BYU is just going to hand the game to them, as the Cougars would like to get their new life as an independent off on the right foot, and what better way to do that than by getting a win against the SEC? - TF

DINNER

#22 Florida vs. FAU - ESPNU, 7pm ET

The first sign that not everything was well in Gatorland in 2010 was Florida's season opener vs. Miami (Ohio), when Urban Meyer's team gained all of 25 yards through three quarters and wheezed their way to a 34-12 victory. Unfortunately for Meyer, the RedHawks wound up one of the nation's most surprising teams. But just as fortunately for Will Muschamp, his debut as Gator head coach shouldn't be nearly so stressful--FAU has been pegged for the bottom rungs of the Sun Belt, and will be breaking in a new quarterback and six new defensive starters in the Swamp. Most Gator fans should wind up watching quarterback John Brantley rather than the scoreboard, as a steady, solid outing by the much-maligned senior would boost his and his team's confidence considerably. - JH

#1 Oklahoma vs. Tulsa - FX, 8pm ET

The Sooners are the preseason favorite of many people throughout the country, and Saturday night will be their first chance to show people why. This game had a lot more upset potential before the arrest and suspension of Tulsa wide receiver Damaris Johnson, but the possibility that it's a lot closer than most would expect is still there. - TF

#4 LSU vs. #3 Oregon - ABC, 8pm ET

It's not just the game of this year's opening week; it would be the game of every year's opening week. And that's just looking at the rankings of the two teams--add in the Will Lyles drama at both schools, the Tigers' August bar brawl and subsequent Jordan Jefferson suspension, Cliff Harris' and Russell Shepard's respective troubles, Chip Kelly's history of nonconference woes, Jarrett Lee's potential redemption, LaMichael James kicking off his Heisman campaign, the bevy of other All-American candidates on both rosters, and the one-and-only Les Miles, and this game is as intriguing as intriguing gets. For the Ducks, victory may come down to their revamped offensive front giving Darron Thomas enough space to get Kelly's option-game going. Tiger end Sam Montgomery, though, is the kind of elite defensive lineman the Ducks have struggled with even with veteran lines. For LSU, if Lee can avoid turnovers, the Tigers' advantage on both lines-of-scrimmage should eventually prove decisive. But given the Ducks' ball-hawking ways, that's much easier said than done. The one thing we can say for certain: we'll be watching. - JH

#19 Georgia vs. #5 Boise State - ESPN, 8pm ET

Another year, another high profile season opener for the Broncos. Heisman candidate Kellen Moore will lead Boise State into a not-so-neutral Georgia Dome to face the Bulldogs in the annual Chick fil-A Kickoff. Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray, who said this week he hopes to emulate Moore's success, will be trying to make his own statement after an impressive freshman season in 2010. The Georgia-heavy crowd in Atlanta will not be the only uphill battle for the Broncos. Boise State is undersized defensively in comparison to the Bulldogs offensive line, and Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham is sure to use the 3-4 scheme to put some added pressure on Moore. However, Moore does take care of the ball (74-9 TD:Int ratio last two seasons) and Georgia will be counting on the unproven true freshman Isaiah Crowell to anchor the running game. Get the "LAST" button ready, because you'll want to see both Top 25 showdowns in the primetime slot. - CP

LATE NIGHT SNACK

Hawaii vs. Colorado - ESPN2, 10:15pm ET

This Pac-12 life isn't too bad, is it, Colorado? Your very first game and you get a trip to Hawaii to show for it. Unfortunately for the Buffaloes, they still have to face a Hawaii offense featuring dark horse Heisman candidate Bryant Moniz that puts up points in bunches. This game should be an entertaining way to end your Saturday. - TF 
Posted on: September 1, 2011 5:07 pm
Edited on: September 1, 2011 11:25 pm
 

Sources: USC coach resigns due to NCAA probe

Posted by Bryan Fischer

USC defensive backs coach Willie Mack Garza resigned from his position Thursday due to his involvement with a NCAA recruiting probe, two sources told CBSSports.com.

Garza cited personal reasons unrelated to the school as the reason for his departure in a statement but sources said his resignation was a direct result of his involvement with former scout Will Lyles and a related NCAA probe into possible recruiting violations.

Lyles interviewed with NCAA investigators for several hours with his lawyers present on Tuesday. During the interview, Lyles revealed that he had a "relationship" with Garza prior to becoming an assistant at Tennessee according to sources. USC officials were notified on Wednesday of the connection and moved swiftly to work out Garza's departure. 

NCAA enforcement staff is currently investigating Lyles' scouting service connections to several programs, including Oregon and LSU. A source said it was not related to Tennessee's NCAA case that was recently completed.

Garza, a former safety at Texas, followed head coach Lane Kiffin from Tennessee to USC in 2010 and was entering his second season with the Trojans before abruptly resigning. USC is currently on NCAA probation stemming from the school's major infractions case involving former running back Reggie Bush.




Posted on: August 24, 2011 1:52 pm
Edited on: August 24, 2011 3:41 pm
 

Seastrunk: 'Something was about to go down' at UO

Posted by Chip Patterson

Former Oregon running back Lache Seastrunk has signed the financial aid papers and started the process necessary to join the Baylor football team. The former five-star recruit and Texas-native is thrilled to be back in his home state, and discussed the decision to leave Oregon in an interview with 1660 ESPN Radio in Waco.

"I felt like God wanted me to be [at Oregon]," Seastrunk said. "But God will also pull you out of the storm before it happens. I felt like something was about to go down, and God wanted me to get up out of there."

That "storm" that could go down at Oregon started with the NCAA's interest in Seastrunk's relationship with Texas businessman Will Lyles. Lyles, who has offered recruiting services to multiple FBS schools including LSU, Cal, and the Ducks, received $25,000 from Oregon for a recruiting package. Lyles, himself, claims that Oregon was really paying for access and influence to highly recruited Texas-natives like Seastrunk and current Oregon running back LaMichael James.

In fairness to Seastrunk, a big part of him wanting to return to his home state is the health of his grandparents. Later in the interview (you can listen to it HERE) Seastrunk credits his grandparents for a being a big part of his current success. But his decision to leave Oregon before any NCAA allegations ("something was about to go down") have been made does seem rather convenient.

There is also the issue of Seastrunk's eligibility. In the interview, the redshirt freshman said he would plead the case of his grandparents health in order to receive immediate eligibility with the Bears. But there may be another option. As CBSSports.com's Bryan Fischer suggested, the NCAA may choose to use the same "limited immunity" tool with Seastrunk that was likely used with the former Miami players like Purdue's Robert Marve and Kansas State's Arthur Brown, among others. Seastrunk could offer the NCAA information on his relationship with Lyles, and in return possibly obtain the eligibility he is looking for at Baylor.

Regardless of the process, Seastrunk's comments suggest that the NCAA is closing in on Oregon/Lyles. He saw the warning signs in the sky, and decided it was a good time to skip town. Something tells me the intermission is coming to a close and the next act in this particular NCAA-related scandal is about to begin.

Getcha popcorn ready.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com