More documents, more questions for UO

June, 22, 2011
6/22/11
11:04
AM ET
Oregon belatedly provided more documents connected to the Willie Lyles investigation to The Oregonian and Eugene Register-Guard on Tuesday, but they provoke more questions rather than provide answers.

The gist from the Register-Guard:
The newest information from Lyles that Oregon put out came in the form of spreadsheets that listed high school sophomores in North and South Carolina, juniors in Louisiana and “east Texas” and sophomores in the east Texas area. Thus, none of the latest recruits listed could be considered as potential members of the 2011 recruiting class, the purported basis of a “2011 National Package” of recruits that Oregon paid $25,000 for with a check dated March 30, 2010, to Lyles. The lists of underclassmen also were delivered to the UO almost a year after that payment to Lyles.

What are the new questions? Sports Illustrated's Andy Staples points some out, most notably:
Why did Lyles wait more than 10 months after Oregon's check arrived to send the first batch of material? According to emails released by the school, the Louisiana and Texas spreadsheets arrived Feb. 17, 2011. The North Carolina and South Carolina spreadsheets arrived the morning of March 3, 2011, only hours before multiple news outlets published stories detailing the $25,000 payment.

Again, the big issue here -- as it has been from the beginning -- is can Oregon show any legitimacy to what Lyles provided for $25,000. If not, will Oregon claim it was ripped off? If that's the case, why did it apparently not ask for a refund and, in fact, apparently continue to do business with Lyles?

The school, not unexpectedly, is saying nothing, as is the way during an NCAA inquiry. A statement from the athletic department: "As we have previously stated, we have and will continue to work with the NCAA on this matter. Until this is resolved, we will offer no further comment."

If you would like to hear a sympathetic interview of Lyles, go here. In the interview, Lyles says he didn't do anything wrong and his troubles began when Texas coaches got mad at him.

"When I didn't want to steer kids their way, that's when the relationship became strained," Lyles said. "So that's when they began the issue or, in a sense, almost, vendetta against me personally."

Lyles denied he steered players to any program.

More on the new documents here from The Oregonian:
At about 6:20 p.m. Tuesday, Oregon's office of public records released two e-mails from consultant Lyles to Josh Gibson, an employee on Oregon's football staff: one sent Feb. 17 and one sent March 3. Attached to the e-mails were documents including contact information for prospects in Texas, Louisiana, North Carolina and South Carolina. The attachments totaled 131 PDF pages with prospect information and two spreadsheets with 157 names.

The e-mails are dated about one year after Oregon paid Lyles for his "2011 National Package," and around the time Yahoo! Sports was investigating Oregon's payment to Lyles. Yahoo's story appeared March 3, the same date on one of Lyles' e-mails.

Are you loving all this drama? So, is there going to me a movie about Lyles? Maybe.

As for Oregon, George Schroeder believes there's too much silence coming from the school. Writes Schroeder:
Privately, Oregon types have been telling people they made a bad business deal. They’ve been painting themselves as victims, saying they’d been burned and learned a lesson.

There’s never been a hint, though, that they’d like their money back. And now we learn they were still using Lyles’ services when the news broke.

The scouting package that Lyles apparently delivered doesn’t remotely fit what he promised on the invoice.

He then concludes:
Could be there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation for all of this.

I don’t think we’re going to hear it.

And if you missed this from Bruce Feldman, it's worth a read: "Report not a good sign for Ducks."

Ted Miller | email

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