Online No Longer Honors Print’s Right To Wrong

Sunday night George Schroeder and Adam Jude of the EUGENE (OR) REGISTER-GUARD reported online that “University of Oregon football coach Chip Kelly has reached an agreement to become the head coach of the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a highly placed UO athletic department source told The Register-Guard.

(Unlike Online, where both correct, Print’s getting it right is role of dice)

More from the Eugene newspaper’s online report:

“It’s done,” the source said Sunday night. … Asked if Kelly might change his mind about leaving Oregon, the UO source said: “I can’t even fathom. … I think all the boxes have been checked.”

Earlier SbB had reported that Chip Kelly had accepted an offer to become the next coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and was in the process of assembling his first-ever NFL coaching staff.

Subsequently, Schroeder and Jude reported on the Register-Guard website that Kelly had backed out on his agreement with the Bucs.

From Jude’s story:

University of Oregon football coach Chip Kelly told a highly placed UO source late Sunday night that he has reversed course and decided to turn down an offer from the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The source told The Register-Guard earlier Sunday night that Kelly had reached an agreement to become Tampa Bay’s head coach. “It’s done,” the source said.

Just before midnight, Kelly changed his mind, telling the source: “I’m staying.”

Why did Kelly back out of his deal with the Bucs after he had accepted a now-documented offer to become Tampa Bay’s head coach? Read more…

Chip Kelly Leaving Oregon For Tampa Bay Bucs

FootballScoop.com was first to report the news Sunday night that Chip Kelly has accepted an offer to become the next head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Chip Kelly visited USF Coach Skip Holtz in Tampa in early 2011

(Kelly was in Tampa to visit USF Coach Skip Holtz last March)

SbB has since confirmed that Kelly is already assembling a coaching staff - from a source with direct knowledge of the process.

SACRAMENTO BEE reporter Joe Davidson also confirmed on Sunday night that with national signing day less than two weeks away, Kelly most recently canceled a Sacramento-area recruiting trip set for today. Justin Hopkins of DuckTerritory.com reported the trip was to include an in-home visit this evening.

Kelly’s departure from Oregon will cost the Bucs $3.5 million because of an applicable buyout clause in the coach’s college contract. Kelly signed a six-year extension with Oregon on Sept. 28, 2010, a deal which made him the second-highest paid coach in the Pac-10 at the time.


Kelly leaves as the school braces for the impending delivery of an NCAA Notice of Allegations, which may implicate the coach in NCAA violations relating to his relationship - as extensively detailed by Yahoo Sports - with Texas-based high school football scout Willie Lyles.

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Highlights From Oregon Football Stars Traffic Stop

Highlights from the Cheech and Chong-inspired Cliff Harris and Darron Thomaswe smoked it all!” traffic stop:


Included:

  • Harris saying, “we smoked it all” when asked by Oregon State Patrol officer, “whose got the marijuana in the car?
  • Harris at one point claiming he had no drivers license of any kind. (OSP officer: “Do you have an Oregon drivers license?” Harris: “No sir.” OSP officer: “Do you have a license out of another state?” Harris: “No sir.”)
  • Thomas also being in possession of zero identification of any kind.
  • Harris claiming he didn’t know who owned the car he was driving during a previous traffic stop - which had resulted in his Oregon driving privileges being suspended.
  • The Oregon State Patrol officer asking if he could “take a look at” Harris’ Pac-10 Championship ring. The same officer later let Harris and Thomas drive away after Harris was cited for driving 118 MPH and in possession of zero identification - let alone a drivers license. (Along with obvious signs of recent marijuana use in the vehicle - including Harris’ own admission of drug use.)
  • When asked if Harris’ “we smoked it all” admission was a concern, Chip Kelly saying, “No, because I saw Cliff pass a sobriety test that the officer let him go on.”

What Chip didn’t say: The officer would not allow Harris to drive the vehicle back to Eugene. That honor went to the only licensed passenger in the vehicle - the same person who Harris later claimed to the officer had been the only person in the car smoking marijuana - his cousin.

On the bright side, at least the already-NCAA-targeted Kelly’s sleep patterns are apparently as normal as can be these days.

That’ll happen when you’re allowed to break the same societal rules you and I are held accountable to every single day.

In other words, before you head out on the freeways, first check eBay to see if there’s any Pac-1o championship rings for sale - as it may save you a night in jail.

Brooks is on Twitter and Facebook

Mike Bellotti: “I Believe There Will Be Sanctions”

During an appearance on Portland radio today, former Oregon head football coach Mike Bellotti defended his hand-picked successor to take over the Ducks program.

Mike Bellotti Believes Oregon Football Program Will Be Hit By Sanctions

(Kelly ex-boss, benefactor: ‘Chip said he’s done nothing wrong. I believe him’)

At a charity golf tournament in Bend, Oregon, Bellotti was asked by 750 The Game host Jay Allen about the current NCAA investigation into the Oregon football program’s recruiting practices. In response, the former Ducks coach said that he believed Kelly had done nothing wrong but that the UO program would eventually be hit by some manner of NCAA sanctions.

From the 750 The Game interview today:

Jay Allen: “You ran a very tight ship at Oregon and now the NCAA is taking a look at some things. Have you talked to Chip? What’s your take on what’s going on with that [NCAA investigation]?

Mike Bellotti: “I have talked to Chip and I feel it’s more probably a bad business deal than a bad choice about how they do business. Chip feels that he’s done nothing wrong and I believe him in that regard. I don’t know what’s gone down with [Houston-based recruiting service operator] Will Lyles and all that.

It’s a shame because it puts a black eye on everything. I think Oregon is still honestly a program that does it the right way.”


Jay Allen: “Do you think there will be any sort of sanctions? Do you have a read on that?Read more…

Lyles: Kelly Directly Involved In Possible Coverup

Friday 247Sports.com Oregon football reporter Matt Prehm broke the news that one of the current Oregon football staffers who worked directly with Houston-based recruiting service operator Willie Lyles had been fired.

Willie Lyles says Chip Kelly was directly involved in possible coverup

Lyles is currently at the center of a wide-ranging NCAA investigation into the Oregon football program’s recruiting methods.

From Prehm’s report:

Multiple sources close to the Oregon football program tell DuckTerritory.com that Assistant Director of Football Operations Josh Gibson is believed to be no longer working in the football office. It is unclear if Gibson has been fired, if he resigned or if he has been reassigned.

Multiple messages left on Gibson’s cell phone have not been returned.

When contacted by phone .. Oregon spokesman Dave Williford said. “I can’t confirm or deny that. Because that wasn’t something I was aware of.”

Oregon recently confirmed Kelly’s football program received spreadsheets containing names and phone numbers of high school football recruits from Lyles - on March 3.

Names and phone numbers Lyles told Yahoo last week were a result of Kelly and Oregon “scrambling” to account for their $25,000 payment to him 11+ months earlier.

Later, the Ken Goe of the PORTLAND OREGONIAN reported of Gibson’s job status:

“No,” UO spokesman Dave Williford told me Friday morning. “It’s not true. Nothing has changed.”

Williford said he went straight to UO athletic director Rob Mullens before commenting on Gibson’s status.

Willford said members of the football staff, including Gibson, currently are on vacation, but that Mullens said Gibson’s status in the football office remains unchanged.

“Rob was very emphatic,” Williford said.

With recently released documents showning interaction between Gibson and Lyles, along with on-the-record comments from Lyles to Yahoo Sports about Gibson’s role in the Ducks “scrambling” to obtain outdated recruiting documents from Lyles to account for UO’s $25,000 payment, it isn’t unreasonable to view a future Gibson ouster as UO scapegoating a low-level staffer for what may have been a blatant coverup attempt.

Until today, questions remained about just how involved Oregon head football coach Chip Kelly was in that possible coverup. But thanks to an appearance by Lyles on Houston radio Sunday, anyone wondering if Kelly was directly involved in obtained recruiting documents from Lyles 11 months and three weeks after the coach authorized a $25,000 payment to the Houston recruiting service operator, they aren’t now.


Appearing on Craig Shelton’s KCOH-AM radio show in Houston Sunday, Lyles confirmed that he dealt directly with Kelly during what appeared to be Oregon’s revisionist acquisition of recruiting materials from Lyles.

Shelton co-host Marcus Coleman to Lyles: “Was Chip Kelly directly in involved in the scramble for documents or was it strictly Josh Gibson?Read more…

Oregon ReDux? Les Miles Denied Knowing Lyles

During a radio interview with PORTLAND OREGONIAN columnist John Canzano of 750 the Game in Portland Tuesday, Houston-based recruiting services operator Willie Lyles said, “I know Les Miles and he knows me.

Les Miles Claims He Didn't Know Who Willie Lyles Was Until December 9

Lyles’ claim to Canzano jibes with a March 14 report by Jim Kleinpeter of the NEW ORLEANS TIMES-PICAUYUNE in which LSU senior associate athletic director Herb Vincent confirmed that the school had three months earlier paid Lyles for recruiting services.

In a story first reported by FOXsports.com senior writer Thayer Evans, Vincent said the money was paid to Lyles business in December, and was one of several recruitng services LSU used. LSU no longer employs Complete Scouting Services.

LSU paid $6,000 for the JUCO Per State Package which includes game films from California and Kansas Junior Colleges and costs $3,000 per state.

But three weeks after Vincent confirmed LSU football’s formal connection to Lyles, Dennis Dodd of CBSSports.com reported on April 9, 2011, “LSU coach Les Miles told CBSSports.com Friday he didn’t know who Willie Lyles was until he saw him in December at the college football awards show in Orlando, Fla.

Stranger yet, thanks to the LSU football coach’s association with an ill-fated entertainment venture attempted by Lyles’ former employer, MSL Sports & Entertainment, Miles was presented as a longtime friend of Lyles.

On April 1, 2008, the following story was published on ESPN.com via the ASSOCIATED PRESS: Read more…

Willie Lyles: “I know Les Miles And He Knows Me”

The man at the center of an NCAA investigation into football recruiting impropriety by the University of Oregon, Houston-based recruiting service operator Willie Lyles, appeared on Portland radio on Tuesday to talk about his role with the Ducks while providing new information to host and PORTLAND OREGONIAN columnist John Canzano about his relationship to the LSU, Cal and Texas A&M football programs.

Willie Lyles on Sideline at LSU with Lache Seastrunk 2009 LSU-Florida game

(Audio of Canzano’s Lyles interview is below)

During an hour-long interview with Canzano on 750 The Game in Portland, Lyles talked at length about his ties to Oregon and head football coach Chip Kelly. But when Canzano broached his role with LSU, for which Lyles has confirmed he was most-recently paid $6,000 by the Tigers, Lyles at first refused to divulge any details of his now-documented connection to the Tigers. Read more…

March 3: Kelly Claimed Not To Know ‘Willie Lyles’

After his portrayal as a deceiving cheat by Willie Lyles in a story published by Yahoo Sports on July 1, it was hard to imagine how things could get worse for Oregon football coach Chip Kelly - at least that day.

Chip Kelly

But eight hours after Lyles may have hammered the final nail into Kelly’s coaching career with the Ducks, the leading sports media figure in the state of Oregon released another bombshell impugning Kelly’s character. Read more…

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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Lyles on UT: ‘I didn’t want to steer kids their way’

During a Houston radio appearance Sunday, Will Lyles responded to accusations that he steered former Texas high school football recruit Lache Seastrunk to Oregon in exchange for a $25,000 payment from the school.


In an interview with KCOH-AM’s Craig Shelton (audio above), Lyles said that the University of Texas was the driving force behind a “well-staged” media campaign designed to discredit him. A campaign Lyles told Shelton was originated, “when I didn’t want to steer kids their [Texas] way.”

Of the University of Texas football program Lyles said, “they thought they lost out on kids [because of Lyles]” and that “Lache Seastrunk [of Temple, Texas] is the kid that was in question about Oregon.”

Here’s an excerpt of the exchange between Lyles and Shelton on KCOH-AM (1430) on June 19, 2011:

Lyles: I felt that it [media campaign to discredit Lyles] was brought about in a very meticulous manner and it was very well staged and set up.

Shelton: Staged and set up by whom?

Lyles: By the University of Texas.

Shelton: Why?

Lyles: Because they did not want to see me in recruiting. First off, they thought they lost out on kids ..

Shelton: [Interrupts Lyles] Give me a name, give me a kid ..

Lyles: Lache Seastrunk is the kid that was in question about Oregon. They’re [University of Texas] trying to say basically that the kid signed there because I got paid $25,000 [by Oregon, so] I persuaded the kid to sign there.

Shelton: So this is the problem about the $25,000?

Lyles: Right. That’s the problem about the $25,000. They [Texas] are trying to say that basically I influenced that kid to go to that university.

Shelton: Do you think there are any scouting services that have ever been paid to influence a kid to go to Texas?

Lyles: I guarantee there’s been high school coaches who have. I don’t know about scouting services. I know they deal with a few scouting services themselves. They actually used to be a client of mine when I was with MSLSports.net in 2007.

And when I didn’t want to steer kids their way [to Texas] that’s when the relationship became strained. That’s when they [Texas] began the vendetta against me personally.

Monday Oregon released emails between Lyles and the Oregon football staff concerning recruiting. In one such email sent to Oregon football staffer Jim Fisher on Jan. 24, 2011, Lyles forwarded a recruiting profile of Texas high school football prospect Matt Davis to the Oregon assistant director of football operations:

Will Lyles Matt Davis

Two months ago Davis verbally committed to Texas A&M.

Oregon also recently released a 143-page document attributed to Lyles titled, “Complete Scouting Services 2010 National High School Evaluation Booklet.”

Though the front page of the “Complete Scouting Services” document from Lyles indicated the booklet was for 2010, each of the 140 profiles of individual high school football prospects in the “evaluation booklet” was titled, “2011″.

George Schroeder of the EUGENE REGISTER-GUARD reported of those 140 high school prospect profiles provided by Lyles’ Complete Scouting Services to Oregon:

At least 115 were from the class that graduated from high school in 2009. Three were from 2010 and one was from 2008. Class year was not available for several players.

It was also verified by Schroeder and other media members that the evaluation booklet sent to the Oregon football program by Lyles - in addition to a $25,000 purchase order/invoice dated Feb. 22, 2010 - contained no prospects identifiable as members of the 2011 recruiting class.

Of Lyles’ involvement with now-defunct MSLSports.net, which he confirmed in the Sunday interview with KCOH-AM’s Shelton, one of the player recruiting profiles submitted to Oregon by Lyles included the text: “MSL Sports.net Ranking“:

Will Lyles MSLSports.net

The remaining 139 profiles from Lyles to Oregon did not contain the “MSL Sports.net Ranking” text, a discrepancy which was first reported by SI.com’s Andy Staples.

Before Lyles started his Complete Scouting Services business, he previously worked for a company called Elite Scouting Services.

Here is an excerpt from the current “About” website page for Elite Scouting Services:

Our comprehensive scouting program is tailored precisely for your football programs needs. Our service not only provides you with in-depth information on the student athletes, but also creates relationships with players, their families, and coaches as well. Our video component and website allow you to access player information and highlight film from any computer. ESS will become an extension of your own coaching staff, a group of scouts that will recruit year round saving you precious time and money. Our goal is to dissect your immediate and long term recruiting needs and build a personalized service around your program.

Here is an excerpt from the current “About Us” page from the Complete Scouting Services 143-page prospect report sent to Oregon:

Our comprehensive scouting program is tailored precisely for your football programs needs. Our service not only provides you with in-depth information on the student athletes, but also creates relationships with players, their families, and coaches as well. Our video component and website allow you to access player information and highlight film from any computer. CSS will become an extension of your own coaching staff, a group of scouts that will recruit year round saving you precious time and money. Our goal is to dissect your immediate and long term recruiting needs and build a personalized service around your program.

Here’s an image comparing the Complete Scouting Services “About Us” document sent by Lyles to Oregon to the website page of Lyles former employer Elite Scouting Services labeled “About”:

 

On March 4, 2011, NCAA associate director of Agent, Gambling and Amateurism activities Angie Cretors sent an email to Oregon Executive Assistant Director, Compliance Bill Clever. An image of that email and a text excerpt from it is below:

NCAA email to Oregon asking for details of what Will Lyles provided the school

Per our discussion this morning, we wanted to follow-up with an on records and documents that we are currently requested. Below is a list of those records that we are requesting related to the University of Oregon football program:

1) All official/unofficial visit records from past two years
2) Recruiting logs for past 2 years
3) All documentation (contracts, invoices, billing statements, correspondence, services provided)
pertaining to institution’s use of scouting services for the past two years.
4) Detailed accounting of ínstitution’s financial records related to Will Lyles, Baron Flenory, Complete Scouting, New Level Athletics, and Speed Dynamics and all other scouting services.

“Speed Dynamics” was the name of a Houston-based, speed-training operation for athletes originated by Lyles in the mid-’90s before he joined MSLSports.net, Elite Scouting Services and started Complete Scouting Services.

The Oregon football program and athletic department has yet to comment publicly on any of the documents released by the school Monday.

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