Move over Ohio State, there's a brand new punching bag on the college football landscape.
In a comprehensive scud missile of a report posted on July 1, Yahoo! Sports effectively called out Oregon Ducks head coach Chip Kelly on his alleged improper dealings with scouting service owner, Will Lyles. The piece more or less featured Lyles -- over the course of several days -- presenting an assortment of evidence and testimonials on Kelly’s inappropriate payments to him for services that the Oregon coach would later try to pass off as something different.
Lyles carefully described Kelly’s request in February that Lyles submit a set of retroactive player profiles that would in some way explain the $25,000 payment made to Lyles’ company before the transaction was ultimately revealed in a Yahoo! Sports report published on March 3. Further, Lyles says his company, Complete Scouting Services (CSS), developed relationships with Texas high school stars that ultimately benefited Oregon’s recruiting.
While Lyles makes it clear that the Ducks never actually requested that he deliver them potential recruits, he notes that the unspoken agreement between him and Oregon entitled him to payment not for traditional scout work, but rather, for his influence with prospects and his ability to steer said prospects through signing and eligibility proceedings.
The NCAA has already made it clear that investigating Oregon, Kelly and the extent of their relationship with Lyles will become a priority. Fresh off the Ohio State scandal, this is the last thing anyone -- including college athletics’ governing body -- wanted. In its efforts to implicate Terrelle Pryor and Jim Tressell as the lone scapegoats who flick their nose at rules and regulations, the NCAA made it clear it would rather play judge, jury and executioner than actually look at its guidelines and determine whether or not reform was necessary. Now, things have changed completely.
With violations by USC, North Carolina and Ohio State still fresh in everyone’s mind, it will be interesting to see how this situation is handled. If the Tressell thing proved anything, it’s that nobody -- absolutely nobody -- is safe. No amount of past success, reputation, prayer breakfasts, built-up goodwill, and faux remorse will save parties who have knowingly broken the rules.
What will happen to Kelly and the Ducks? Only time will tell.