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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Oregon Duck Spied in NBA Seats Money Can’t Buy

Last night during the Lakers-Blazers game in Portland, longtime PDX media personality Dwight Jaynes noted on Twitter that Oregon running back Kenjon Barner was at the game and seated courtside.

Kenjon Barner Lakers Game Courtside Seat Photo

A photo of Barner, who is a junior at the University of Oregon and reportedly mulling entering the NFL draft, was included as part of a brilliant photo essay of Thursday’s Blazers-Lakers game by OregonLive.com photographer Bruce Ely.

Kenjon Barner Lakers Game Courtside Seat Photo

From images taken from the KCAL 9 broadcast feed, one can see that Barner’s courtside seat at the Rose Garden was located next to Lakers head coach Mike Brown - and just feet away from Kobe Bryant & Co.

If you listed the most desirous seat of all Portland NBA home games this season, sitting next to the Lakers bench is at the top of the list. Barner’s seat last night was the kind of ticket normally bought by someone to whom money is no object. And, as Jaynes also noted during the game last night, having deep pockets doesn’t always guarantee the right to acquire such a prized seat location.

Kenjon Barner Lakers Game Courtside Seat Photo

That’s why the right to buy such a high profile seat location is usually extended only to those who posess certain status that money cannot buy - with last night confirmation that such extra benefits indeed extend to current members of the University of Oregon football team.

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Ducks, Cal: Troubling Ties To ‘Mentor’ Of Recruits

Six days before Christmas, on Dec. 19, 2003, Otis Yelverton filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in a North Carolina Federal Court.

Otis Yelverton's ties to Oregon, Cal followed financial distress

Listing himself as “self-employed” with a monthly income of $4800.00, creditor claims totaled $989,628.36 against Yelverton at the time.

13 months later Yelverton filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in a North Carolina Federal Court, with the accompanying creditor claim register totaling $429,644.71 against Yelverton - who listed his employment as “construction” and “towing.”

Of his Wachovia checking account in the second filing, Yelverton reported a balance of “$0.00.

Otis Yelverton's ties to Oregon, Cal followed financial distress

Two years after the latter bankruptcy filing, in 2007, Yelverton was hit with a pair of Federal Tax Liens totaling over $10,000.

On Feb. 21, 2010, Ed Hardin of the GREENSBORO (NC) NEWS & RECORD reported that the same Yelverton was a local high school football coach and “mentor” of several top local high school football prospects:

Yelverton helped pay for trips to California for the group of young men, also arranging trips to Oregon, Washington and Alabama. He’s been doing this for years for area high school players, building a reputation here and across the country as a man who can connect recruiters with young men who might not otherwise have an opportunity to go to college outside the state.

The “group of young men” Hardin referenced included Cal football players Gabe King, Keenan Allen, Zach Maynard and Chris McCain and Oregon football players James Scales and Remene Alston, Jr.

Two weeks before Hardin’s piece, Yelverton presided over a Feb. 4., 2010, Greensboro press conference in which King, Allen and McCain committed to Cal while another Yelverton high school football protege, Zach Maynard, finalized a transfer from Buffalo to Cal. At the same Yelverton-hosted event, yet another local high school football player Yelverton claimed to have “mentored”, James Scales, announced he would soon enroll at Oregon. (Which he did, a month later.)

Otis Yelverton in Cal hat

(Otis Yelverton decked out in Cal gear on sideline in Berkeley)

Gabe King’s commitment to Cal came - strangely - by way of South Eugene (OR) High School. After the Greensboro-area high school football star was declared ineligible for attempting to transfer into a local school in which Yelverton had served as a “non-faculty” assistant football coach, Yelverton reportedly helped arrange King’s transfer to the Oregon high school located in the same city as the University of Oregon.

On Sept. 22, 2009, Robert Bell of the News & Record reported of Yelverton’s role in King’s transfer to South Eugene High School:

Sources in Oregon said King moved to Eugene after Oak Ridge Academy athletic director Otis Yelverton — a former assistant coach at Page, Grimsley and, until this year, Northern — recommended to King and his family that they move to Eugene

Otis Yelverton's ties to Oregon, Cal followed financial distress

Greg Biggins of ESPN.com also covered the prominent role the financially-challenged Yelverton had in the recruitment of Greensboro-area high school football stars who ultimately signed with Cal and Oregon. From a Biggins ESPN report dated August 24, 2009:

Otis Yelverton, or ‘Coach O’ as he’s known, coached at Northern Guilford before recently taking a head coaching position at Oakridge Military School. Coach O took the players on a series of unofficial visits this past summer that included stops at Alabama, Maryland, Oregon, Oregon State and Cal to name a few.

The visits to Oregon and Cal made a strong impression and the two schools have a chance to score big when decision time rolls around.

On June 19, 2009, A.J. Jacobson reported on one unofficial visit to the University of Oregon in which Yelverton escorted Greensboro high school recruits Allen, King, Scales, McCarin and Maurice Harris to an “Oregon coaches” football camp on campus. During the visit, Yelverton told Jacobson:

I’ve been out here five, six times per year since Remene (Alston, Jr.) got here.”

Alston joined the Oregon football team in 2007.

Tom Keller of the News & Record was at the Yelverton-hosted Greensboro signing day press conference on Feb. 4, 2010, which he described as “surreal” while adding:

It was a huge and unexpected cross-country package for the Golden Bears, and a rare flow of talent with Guilford County ties to any one school, much less one on the West Coast.

Keller also wrote of the role twice-bankrupted, IRS-targeted Yelverton played in the Greensboro players attending Cal and Oregon:

Scales, Allen, McCain and King visited Cal and Oregon among others on a 24,000-mile recruiting journey last summer with Yelverton, who is Oak Ridge Military’s athletics director and is a former assistant football coach at Northern, Page and Grimsley.

In the N & R piece dated Feb. 21, 2010, Hardin also wrote in his profile of Yelverton:

“Coach O is a great guy with a great big heart,” Remene Alston said. “I wouldn’t want his credit card bill.”

Alston’s son, Remene Alston Jr., is at Oregon because of Yelverton, and the family swears by him.

Two weeks after the 2/21/2010 piece by Hardin on Yelverton, Keller reported of Yelverton’s new job as Athletic Director and Head Football Coach at Oak Ridge Military Academy - and that Yelverton was working for free.

The three most prominent members of Oak Ridge Military Academy’s coaching staff have at least one thing in common: They’re working for free.

Girls basketball coach Delaney Rudd (who was introduced Monday), athletics director Otis Yelverton (who will re-launch the school’s football program as head coach in the fall) and boys basketball coach Stan Kowalewski (who signed a 30-year contract Monday) are working pro bono while the school digs out of a financial hole.

“No coach here is getting a dime,” Yelverton said. “It’s personal.”

Where did the money come to re-launch the school’s football program? From the same Greensboro New & Record story:

Yelverton also said Nike is donating $40,000 of equipment a year to the school, including four sets of football uniforms. He said he negotiated that deal through his relationship with the University of Oregon athletics department, a multimillion-dollar benefactor of Nike through its founder, Oregon alumnus Phil Knight.

On March 21, 2011, Jason Wolf of the News & Record reported on Yelverton’s first (and only) season at Oak Ridge:

Yelverton recruited about a dozen Division I-caliber athletes from across the country to launch Oak Ridge’s startup football program, which went 8-0 last season against a mix of regional public and private high schools and a community-based organization for at-risk teens, outscoring its opponents by a combined 329-15.

Five opponents canceled games after learning of the Cadets’ use of postgraduate players, which is prohibited by the two governing bodies for high school sports in the state.

News & Record reporter Wolf added in his story:

Otis Yelverton resigned as football coach and athletics director at Oak Ridge Military Academy on Monday, just hours before ORMA president David Johnson for the first time acknowledged to the News & Record that the school will no longer allow postgraduate players.

Yelverton said he is leaving to pursue an opportunity that is “not football-related,” but would not provide details.

“It may lead to nowhere, it may lead to one day I may be a general manager of maybe a professional basketball or baseball team. Who knows?” Yelverton said. “I’ve got to leave immediately, and that’s that. It’s something that I’ve been working on for a while.”

Four days after Yelverton announced that four Greensboro-area football stars would be attending Cal, the school sent out a press release noting that assistant football coach Tosh Lupoi had been named “College Football Recruiter of the Year” by Rivals.com.

Tosh Lupoi named recruiter of the year after signing 3 Yelverton-mentored players

Of the six high school recruits Rivals reported Lupoi helped Cal sign in 2010, three were Greensboro-area players “mentored” by Yelverton.

Brooks can be reached on Twitter, Facebook and directly at sportsbybrooks@gmail.com.

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

Auburn, Oregon Shoot The Messenger Showdown

Last month an Auburn-centric site, TheAuburner.com, went all-in on an epic Sports by Brooks parody.

Sports by Brooks Parody

Today, SBNation.com site AddictedtoQuack.com checked-in with its own full-page SbB goof.

Oregon website Sports by Brooks parody

Best Sports by Brooks Parody Page

View Results

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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…

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 Oregon.247sports.com three days ago: 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…