Oregon Paid $25,000 For Videos That Don’t Exist?

Sunday in a piece by John Canzano of the PORTLAND OREGONIAN, Oregon football coach Chip Kelly addressed the 2010 $25,000 payment made to Willie Lyles, the alleged “mentor” of Oregon football player Lache Seastrunk.

Willie Lyles, Mike Bellotti, Baron Flenory

(Keep the “names and phone numbers.” Where’s the videos?)

From Canzano:

A purchase order obtained by The Oregonian details that Lyles billed them for “Game films, Highlight film” from 22 states. And if you ask Kelly what was provided he’ll tell you the Ducks received contact information for players — “names and phone numbers.” Basically, access.

The only thing listed on the invoice submitted by Lyles to Kelly was the aforementioned video.

So by saying that he received “names and phone numbers,” is Kelly telling us there are no videos? And if Oregon does soon produce some manner of video purportedly from Lyles, why didn’t Kelly, when he had the chance, just tell Canzano exactly what he had? (Confirming the videos now would do nothing to dissuade suspicion.)

If Oregon’s NCAA rules compliance department knew that the state of Oregon was paying Lyles $25,000 based on an invoice that wouldn’t deliver what it promised, is it unreasonable to think that compliance would not have signed off on the transaction?

While we’re at it, where are the “names and phone numbers” which Kelly paid $25,000 for? If the coach doesn’t soon reveal what he actually received from Lyles, we’ll know soon enough thanks to a Freedom of Information request submitted to the state school by Canzano.

So unlike the vast majority of NCAA rule disputes, we absolutely will get to the bottom of this so-called ‘compliance’ issue.

From Oregon’s reaction so far to media inquiries about what changed hands between the school and Lyles - and I’m not talking about what may end up being a meaningless invoice - would non-UO devotees be surprised if the school actually received next to nothing for its $25,000 in taxpayer funds?

Thanks to the extraordinary nature of what appears to be smoking gun evidence against the Ducks football program in its seeming lacking transaction with a notorious college football street agent, this case may also extend beyond the NCAA.

The $25,000 check, per the official University of Oregon payment order, was cut on March 24, 2010, and Fedexed to Lyles the same day. What’s the odds that the IRS may take an interest in whether Lyles, who the Harris County, Texas, website already currently notes has failed in the past three years to make a property tax payment on a Houston residence he owns, reported the $25,000 Oregon payment on his subsequent federal income tax return?

Last Friday, Joe Schad and Mark Schlabach of ESPN.com reported:

But a person who once worked with Lyles said the $25,000 payment exceeded the $16,500 Oregon paid the recruiting service for its work during the previous two years. The source said Lyles’ affiliation with the recruiting service had been terminated prior to Lyles billing Oregon on his own.

So if Lyles was working with Elite the previous two years, what are the odds he claimed that stealth takeaway on his personal income tax return?

From the documented $25,000 payment from Oregon to Lyles and the payments to Lyles via Elite the previous two years, we now know Lyles doesn’t work for free. So what of his “mentoring” relationships with dozens of players since 2004 who have signed with numerous other major college football programs?

If Oregon paid $25K, what about other schools who took on recruits known to associate with Lyles?

While to this point lacking an official, notarized payment order on university letterhead has precluded the NCAA from investigating, I’m not so sure you will soon say the same for the gentle souls at the Internal Revenue Service.

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