The Oregonian reports
that on Saturday, September 17, 2011, Oregon officials announced that earlier in the week, the NCAA sent the university a notification of its inquiry into possible recruiting violations involving Willie Lyles, "a freelance talent scout," Oregon had hired.
Rachel Bachman explains
the Notice of Inquiry by the NCAA is "a step that typically falls late in an investigation and signals the NCAA soon will list its allegations against the school." She continues saying this "is significant for Oregon...because it marks the first concrete step toward an NCAA finding of wrongdoing."
The inquiry into Oregon began following a report showing Oregon paid Lyles $25,000 three weeks after star running back, Lache Seastrunk, had signed in February 2010 to be a member of the Oregon Ducks 2010 football recruiting class. According to Bachman, this "payment raised eyebrows because of Lyles' role as a mentor to Seastrunk and because the fee, ostensibly for scouting reports of players in 22 states, exceeded the going rate for such reports." Ted Miller from ESPN.com
, writes the Ducks claim they "paid $25,000 in 2010 for a 'national recruiting package.' When Oregon released what Lyles provided the Ducks for that payment, it was mostly worthless, outdated profiles and information."
reported in the Oregonian that Lyles himself alleges "he was not paid for his scouting services, as Oregon coach Chip Kelly [has] suggested, rather, for his access and influence with key recruits such as Lache Seastrunk...Lyles has also admitted that he aided Ducks Heisman candidate LaMichael James in gaining his college eligibility post-high school, and also, helped orchestrate Seastrunk’s signing of his national letter of intent with Oregon."
Bachman explains "it is against the NCAA rules for someone who is not a school employee, but is a representative of its athletic interests, to help the school recruit athletes. The Ducks' payment to Lyles could prompt the NCAA to classify him as an Oregon representative."
As for the investigation process, Bachman says "the NCAA's typical protocol is to follow a notice of inquiry with a notice of allegations, then to summon the school before its Committee on Infractions. After a hearing, the NCAA takes roughly six to eight weeks to issue a ruling, according to timelines from other recent investigations."
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Oregon Ducks Receive Notice of Inquiry for the Willie Lyles Case - ...