The investigation concerning the University of Oregon centers around the recruitment of players like LaMichael James (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Whoa. I wasn't expecting THIS BCS title finalist to garner public scrutiny.
Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports and Joe Schad and Mark Schlabach of ESPN both come out with stories confirming that investigations were underway by the NCAA for the reigning Pac-10 champion Oregon Ducks and whether boosters were involved in recruiting several prominent names to Eugene. The two prominent names are Will Lyles of Complete Scouting Services in Houston, and Baron Flenory of New Level Athletics, who were both paid fairly large sums by Oregon for their recruiting services (legal), but could have assisted in driving several prominent recruits up to the Ducks.
Will Lyles has been known to be a notorious street agent for years. He was considered a trainer and mentor to prized Duck recruit Lache Seastrunk, and was a guest of honor for LaMichael James at a prominent ESPN awards show. Lyles will probably be the centerpiece of this investigation, since the $25k fee reportedly paid to Lyles is WAY over the service rate normally charged by college football programs to scouting departments.
As for Flenroy, he played football at New Hampshire under Chip Kelly before he started running 7-on-7 camps. His apparent dream is to consolidate high school camps and funnel the best players into his services for college coaches to recruit from. Linebacker Anthony Wallace is one of his pupils who committed to Oregon, and recent prized LA recruit De'Anthony Thomas also attended one of Flenroy's camps, according to Rob Moseley of the Register Guard.
Here's a great profile on both Lyles and Flenroy from Recruitocosm. (And by great, I mean you'll probably want to take a shower afterwards). For those who want to learn more about the idea of a street agent, go to Barking Carnival. If it sounds a lot like AAU basketball on the gridiron, you wouldn't be too far off.
Whether Oregon will get punished is really an iffy question. It's hard to really prove whether the NCAA has enough on Lyles or Flenroy to really say whether either is in violation of Bylaw 13 (boosters directing a recruit to a school). Like most NCAA cases, we might have to wait awhile before there's any conclusion to this investigation.