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Sports By Brooks: Cal Paid Willie Lyles $5000. Big Deal? Probably Not.

Sports By Brooks reports:

During an interview on’s Real Talk With Jason Whitlockpodcast (full interview) last week, Lyles said he was also paid $5,000 by Cal for his recruiting services.

After noting that Lyles had told him he made $36,000 in 2010, Whitlock asked Lyles:

"You got a check for $25,000 from Oregon, where was the other $11,000?"


"The other $11,000 was $6,000 from LSU and the other $5,000 was from Cal-Berkeley."

Is this a big deal? Brief thoughts here and after the jump:

1) It's pretty clear what Brooks is trying to do with this title: Make Cal look guilty by association, insinuate that something is wrong when there's not enough evidence to back that up, make Tedford look like a hypocrite. But until someone finds out what all this $5000 is for, Brooks could be culpable for libel here, right?

In fact, when you look at the "evidence" Brooks brings up, the case gets flimsier.

a) Some Tedford quotes about honesty and integrity were brought up.  I'm guessing Brooks wants the Cal athletic department to release the info, or else he is a hypocrite. Cute one there Brooks. Not sure if that would ever pass in a court of law, but this is Drudge Report worthy. 

b) The only quote that might be trouble is the Trevon Randle quote about Lyles talking up Cal. One problem Brooks: CAL NEVER OFFERED HIM. So even if Randle had been steered to Cal, the Bears seemed to never go further in his pursuit of him. Dead end trail there.

c) "Kenwick Thompson and Lyles are from the same hometown--Houston." Ah yes, Houston, a small town where everyone knows each other by face. Have they ever contacted each other? Or is that all you got? Are all Cal assistant professors Unabombers?

2) No one really knows what exactly this money was for. It might have been for the general info on recruits, which is not against any NCAA rules. Recruiting services generally do cost this much and there are no limits for information. As far as I know, the only NCAA violation possible in this scenario is the buying and paying of street agents to help steer football recruits to their school (hence why the Lache Seastrunk story in Oregon is such a big deal, because the money is so excessive compared to other cases). Information is not a crime.

3) Despite all these dismissals, just remember one thing about recruiting--it's a dirty, dirty business and a minefield to navigate. You would be shocked at the stories you hear behind closed doors. So always be wary of criticizing what other schools are doing, lest you wake up to a real ugly surprise one day on the frontpage of CGB. I'm not saying our current staffs will ever do anything unethical, but just be cautious of how much you want to rub it in the faces of Oregon and USC fans, because one day it might be our turn (It's already been our turn actually; Tom Holmoe anyone?).

For now though, Jeff Tedford has proven he's capable of running a clean football program at Cal while maintaining a competitive football team for much of the past decade. These latest accusations haven't done anything to dissuade us of this notion.