Willie Lyles implicates Chip Kelly in NCAA scouting investigation

Oregon football head coach Chip Kelly speaks with the media during a spring football practice on March 29, 2011. (Rachelle Hacmac/Oregon Daily Emerald)

Posted by Matt Walks on Friday, Jul. 1 at 3:58 pm.

The ongoing investigation into Willie Lyles’ involvement with Oregon football’s recruiting process has taken a turn for the worse for the Ducks, following a report by Yahoo! Sports, in which Lyles, the owner of Texas-based Complete Scouting Services, alleged that head coach Chip Kelly played a substantial role in the shady payment of $25,000 to Lyles for scouting services.

Though Lyles asserts that Oregon did not pay him to directly send recruits to Oregon, he now says, “(Oregon) paid for what they saw as my access and influence with recruits.

“The service I provided went beyond what a scouting service should … I made a mistake and I’m big enough of a man to admit I was wrong.”

The biggest question mark for Oregon now is Kelly’s involvement in the situation. In the report, Lyles explains that Kelly personally approved the $25,000 fee, which the University has said was in exchange for scouting materials. Also included are handwritten notes from Kelly thanking Lyles for “all (Lyles) help with these guys” — referring to potential recruits.

Earlier this month the University released a scouting report given to them by Lyles. The report, thin on relevant information and full of outdated material, did not clearly reflect $25,000 worth of information and increased media scrutiny.

Oregon spokesperson Dave Williford maintains the University’s stance there was no wrongdoing.

“Our stance hasn’t changed from our original statement,” Williford said. “We believe we did nothing wrong.”

Williford went on to say that further comment will be withheld until the NCAA’s investigation has been resolved.

If Lyles’ statements are substantiated, Oregon will likely have the choice of keeping Kelly on and risking stiffer NCAA sanctions or letting him go, perhaps in a situation similar to that of former Ohio State head football coach Jim Tressel, who resigned last May amid rule violations.



  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1351410078 Adam J. Tirella

    So let me get this straight… Auburn pays Cam Newton’s dad $200,000 to send him to the Tigers, and they come out clean. We pay a legitimate recruiting service $25,000 to match explosive players with an offensive scheme that completely benefits them as players, and it looks like the shit is about to hit the fan? I’m tired of this NCAA/BCS/SEC supremacy. I can only hope this turns out well. Go Ducks.

    • TheSa505

      Suckaduckiequackquack, Fight On!!!! This shit is comedy, USC looks like Mother Theresa compared to this….

      • al

        That’s the most ridiculous post ever to include USC. 2 year sanctions?

    • Abear35

      Scam Newton has nothing to do with Chip Kelly’s shady dealings with this “scouting service”. But it sure looks like a huge, season-long distraction is in store for the Ducks. Geaux Tigers!

      • Garyrpowell

        Welcome to the NCAA ball busters there OREGON.  I hope you get the USC version of retribution!

    • Jack

      Auburn paid Cam Newton’s dad $200, 000? Really? I’m no fan of Auburn but that’s not what happened. Maybe you should check your facts before mouthing off.

    • pat

      Do some reading of your own, and stop relying on ESPN for your news. Auburn was never accused of paying Cam Newton’s father. The investigation into Auburn was done because of the interactions that Cam’s father had very recently had with Mississippi State regarding their recruitment of Cam. It was a Mississippi State that made the offer to his father. Mississippi State and Auburn reported that infraction to the NCAA in early 2010 (way before the season started). Auburn’s NCAA compliance officer is a former NCAA investigator, and he made sure that Cam was clear to play for Auburn. Had Cam played for Mississippi State then they (MSU) would have been a lot of trouble since they are the ones that offered his dad the money. OR if Cam had known about the offer that Mississippi State had made to his father, then that would have made him ineligable and then Auburn would have had a problem because they would have been playing an illegal player.  The only people that believed that Auburn had paid Cam are the bammers and ESPN fans. 
      There are a million rumors out there as to why the Cam story got legs at the time that it did (in the middle of the season), considering that the NCAA had known about it for months before the media ever got wind of it.  SEC football is not the only thing that runs circles around the PAC-10. Our rivalries dwarf anything that the PAC-10 can claim, and its those cut throat rivalries that cause us so much grief. I suspect that Florida and Bammer had a good bit to do with why the media broke with that story when it did.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1351410078 Adam J. Tirella

    So let me get this straight… Auburn pays Cam Newton’s dad $200,000 to send him to the Tigers, and they come out clean. We pay a legitimate recruiting service $25,000 to match explosive players with an offensive scheme that completely benefits them as players, and it looks like the shit is about to hit the fan? I’m tired of this NCAA/BCS/SEC supremacy. I can only hope this turns out well. Go Ducks.

    • TheSa505

      Suckaduckiequackquack, Fight On!!!! This shit is comedy, USC looks like Mother Theresa compared to this….

      • al

        That’s the most ridiculous post ever to include USC. 2 year sanctions?

    • Abear35

      Scam Newton has nothing to do with Chip Kelly’s shady dealings with this “scouting service”. But it sure looks like a huge, season-long distraction is in store for the Ducks. Geaux Tigers!

      • Garyrpowell

        Welcome to the NCAA ball busters there OREGON.  I hope you get the USC version of retribution!

    • Jack

      Auburn paid Cam Newton’s dad $200, 000? Really? I’m no fan of Auburn but that’s not what happened. Maybe you should check your facts before mouthing off.

    • pat

      Do some reading of your own, and stop relying on ESPN for your news. Auburn was never accused of paying Cam Newton’s father. The investigation into Auburn was done because of the interactions that Cam’s father had very recently had with Mississippi State regarding their recruitment of Cam. It was a Mississippi State that made the offer to his father. Mississippi State and Auburn reported that infraction to the NCAA in early 2010 (way before the season started). Auburn’s NCAA compliance officer is a former NCAA investigator, and he made sure that Cam was clear to play for Auburn. Had Cam played for Mississippi State then they (MSU) would have been a lot of trouble since they are the ones that offered his dad the money. OR if Cam had known about the offer that Mississippi State had made to his father, then that would have made him ineligable and then Auburn would have had a problem because they would have been playing an illegal player.  The only people that believed that Auburn had paid Cam are the bammers and ESPN fans. 
      There are a million rumors out there as to why the Cam story got legs at the time that it did (in the middle of the season), considering that the NCAA had known about it for months before the media ever got wind of it.  SEC football is not the only thing that runs circles around the PAC-10. Our rivalries dwarf anything that the PAC-10 can claim, and its those cut throat rivalries that cause us so much grief. I suspect that Florida and Bammer had a good bit to do with why the media broke with that story when it did.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1351410078 Adam J. Tirella

    Also, the main argument against the Ducks is that Lyles gave us hard copies of the player’s information AFTER the NCAA began their investigation. But a scout’s “service” is to recommend players to schools (not the other way around). This doesn’t mean the scout has to provide them with the data behind the recommendation. So it’s really a moot point that he gave us hard copies after the fact. If anything, the fact that Kelly asked for the documents after the investigation started just substantiates the point that no violations were made- Kelly was simply asking for the data that we paid Lyles to compile and interpret for us. That’s the whole point of a scouting service.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1351410078 Adam J. Tirella

    Also, the main argument against the Ducks is that Lyles gave us hard copies of the player’s information AFTER the NCAA began their investigation. But a scout’s “service” is to recommend players to schools (not the other way around). This doesn’t mean the scout has to provide them with the data behind the recommendation. So it’s really a moot point that he gave us hard copies after the fact. If anything, the fact that Kelly asked for the documents after the investigation started just substantiates the point that no violations were made- Kelly was simply asking for the data that we paid Lyles to compile and interpret for us. That’s the whole point of a scouting service.

  • Pete M

    They say the biggest target in sports is when you are ranked #1.  Yahoo sports has launched a serious bullet at Oregon Football by reporting a one sided, fact lacking article By Charles Robinson and Dan Wetzel, Yahoo! Sports (http://rivals.yahoo.com/ncaa/football/news?slug=ys-obinson_scout_details_deal_oregon_kelly_070111)  about possible recruiting violations involving Chip Kelly, Asst. Coach Josh Gibson and The University’s Athletic department.  Will Lyles, owner of the now defunct Complete Scouting Services (CSS) and the whistle blower here, is claiming that The University of Oregon Football program paid him for direct recruitment of prep athletes in the state of Texas.
    What the article avoids saying is that all recruitment activities were done exclusively by Will Lyles and shows he was thanked by Oregon personnel for his efforts in helping recruit LA Michael James and Lache Seastrunk as well as other possible athletes Oregon was interested in.  This is not an NCAA recruiting violation on Oregon’s part.  Lyles, who was let go by Muscle Sorts (MSL) out of New York (Dallas Morning-News, Will Wilkerson) was trying to capitalize on his relationship with LA Michael James’ situation with standardized testing in Texas and Lache Seastrunk’s family to start his own business. 
    Lyles contends that He back dated recruiting information for Oregon to come compliant with NCAA investigators.  Lyles only client at the time was Oregon and although I believe there should be some disciplinary action against Gibson for not securing documents immediately from Lyles for his recruiting data and filing them appropriately with the compliance officer at U of O as well as at NCAA headquarters in Kansas City.  Chip Kelly agreed to be CSS’ first client and for a very high fee.   The NCAA limits the number of services any university may use and Chip Kelly knows this.  Paying him a larger fee for what I believe is the work he did in securing Seastrunk and moving LA Michael James to Texarkana, AR so as to avoid standardized testing and be eligible for a scholarship, may be extravagant but NOT ILLEGAL.  Oregon has lost only one regular season game in the last two years and with that comes a lot of scrutiny from not only those who can’t win but the NCAA as well and Chip Kelly knows this.  The NCAA will complete their investigation and Oregon is smart in not commenting because it is the NCAA policy to not comment on ongoing investigations.  Robinson and Wetzel can write their slander and claim their freedom of speech but I would expect more from a pair of professional journalists.
    Will Lyle’s inability to provide proper documentation to the Oregon Athletic department is why he no longer has a contract and is out of business?  Losing one client should not kill a business if you are smart and legal about running your business unless no one else will do business with you because of your reputation.  I guess he does not have any more kids to manipulate and since his business failed, I guess he wanted someone to blame for his lack of business skills.
    All I have to say is fear not Duck Fans and remember you know you’re doing it right when the whole world is out to get you. Bring on that bulls-eye and slap it right on our backs.  As for me, well first I am going to forward this to ESPN, FOX Sports, CBS Sports, The Sporting News, The Oregonian, and the Oregon Daily Emerald.  Secondly, I am going to boycott everything Yahoo (as should you) for not getting all of the facts and publishing 3,000 words of pure slanted supposition and third, I will see all of you at the 2012 Pac-12 Football Championship followed by the 2012 NCAA Championship to route on my team.  GO DUCKS!!!

    • Jeriley761

      Your post is poorly written and so biased as to have zero credibility.  Remember, you are not just talking to “Duck” fans (quack quack).

    • zman

      Being a Buckeye I understand your position. Now shut up and wait. Kelly will be drinking with Tressel this fall watching his former employer on TV. Where there is smoke…

    • Tommy Trojan

      Oregon fans are ten times more delusional than even the most fervent USC fan.  Nothing wrong with what Oregon did?  You go from a losing record to best in the country on what – hard work?  Paying off recruiters ex post facto is illegal.  Admit it and move on. 

      Phil Knight can’t save you now.  In fact, he may be your biggest liability.

      FIGHT ON!

  • Pete M

    They say the biggest target in sports is when you are ranked #1.  Yahoo sports has launched a serious bullet at Oregon Football by reporting a one sided, fact lacking article By Charles Robinson and Dan Wetzel, Yahoo! Sports (http://rivals.yahoo.com/ncaa/football/news?slug=ys-obinson_scout_details_deal_oregon_kelly_070111)  about possible recruiting violations involving Chip Kelly, Asst. Coach Josh Gibson and The University’s Athletic department.  Will Lyles, owner of the now defunct Complete Scouting Services (CSS) and the whistle blower here, is claiming that The University of Oregon Football program paid him for direct recruitment of prep athletes in the state of Texas.
    What the article avoids saying is that all recruitment activities were done exclusively by Will Lyles and shows he was thanked by Oregon personnel for his efforts in helping recruit LA Michael James and Lache Seastrunk as well as other possible athletes Oregon was interested in.  This is not an NCAA recruiting violation on Oregon’s part.  Lyles, who was let go by Muscle Sorts (MSL) out of New York (Dallas Morning-News, Will Wilkerson) was trying to capitalize on his relationship with LA Michael James’ situation with standardized testing in Texas and Lache Seastrunk’s family to start his own business. 
    Lyles contends that He back dated recruiting information for Oregon to come compliant with NCAA investigators.  Lyles only client at the time was Oregon and although I believe there should be some disciplinary action against Gibson for not securing documents immediately from Lyles for his recruiting data and filing them appropriately with the compliance officer at U of O as well as at NCAA headquarters in Kansas City.  Chip Kelly agreed to be CSS’ first client and for a very high fee.   The NCAA limits the number of services any university may use and Chip Kelly knows this.  Paying him a larger fee for what I believe is the work he did in securing Seastrunk and moving LA Michael James to Texarkana, AR so as to avoid standardized testing and be eligible for a scholarship, may be extravagant but NOT ILLEGAL.  Oregon has lost only one regular season game in the last two years and with that comes a lot of scrutiny from not only those who can’t win but the NCAA as well and Chip Kelly knows this.  The NCAA will complete their investigation and Oregon is smart in not commenting because it is the NCAA policy to not comment on ongoing investigations.  Robinson and Wetzel can write their slander and claim their freedom of speech but I would expect more from a pair of professional journalists.
    Will Lyle’s inability to provide proper documentation to the Oregon Athletic department is why he no longer has a contract and is out of business?  Losing one client should not kill a business if you are smart and legal about running your business unless no one else will do business with you because of your reputation.  I guess he does not have any more kids to manipulate and since his business failed, I guess he wanted someone to blame for his lack of business skills.
    All I have to say is fear not Duck Fans and remember you know you’re doing it right when the whole world is out to get you. Bring on that bulls-eye and slap it right on our backs.  As for me, well first I am going to forward this to ESPN, FOX Sports, CBS Sports, The Sporting News, The Oregonian, and the Oregon Daily Emerald.  Secondly, I am going to boycott everything Yahoo (as should you) for not getting all of the facts and publishing 3,000 words of pure slanted supposition and third, I will see all of you at the 2012 Pac-12 Football Championship followed by the 2012 NCAA Championship to route on my team.  GO DUCKS!!!

    • Jeriley761

      Your post is poorly written and so biased as to have zero credibility.  Remember, you are not just talking to “Duck” fans (quack quack).

    • zman

      Being a Buckeye I understand your position. Now shut up and wait. Kelly will be drinking with Tressel this fall watching his former employer on TV. Where there is smoke…

    • Tommy Trojan

      Oregon fans are ten times more delusional than even the most fervent USC fan.  Nothing wrong with what Oregon did?  You go from a losing record to best in the country on what – hard work?  Paying off recruiters ex post facto is illegal.  Admit it and move on. 

      Phil Knight can’t save you now.  In fact, he may be your biggest liability.

      FIGHT ON!

  • Tarponrandy

    Welcome to the party duck fans….trust me it sucks.  Hopefully, this will end in your favor, however I feel Kelly is in hot water and may not survive this.  As a buckeye fan, the media will be relentless on you, it sucks and I wish Oregon all the best.  Hopefully, ESPN won’t come digging around campus for the summer.  Those guys suck.

  • Tarponrandy

    Welcome to the party duck fans….trust me it sucks.  Hopefully, this will end in your favor, however I feel Kelly is in hot water and may not survive this.  As a buckeye fan, the media will be relentless on you, it sucks and I wish Oregon all the best.  Hopefully, ESPN won’t come digging around campus for the summer.  Those guys suck.

  • Duck99w

    Great reporting by Yahoo. Love that the Emerald isn’t afraid to cover this. Lots of us Ducks fans have blinders on when it comes to our team. Canzano and the Emerald and Yahoo are leading the way on this. We should not have blinders on. The Ducks will be back! But we want a clean program.

  • Duck99w

    Great reporting by Yahoo. Love that the Emerald isn’t afraid to cover this. Lots of us Ducks fans have blinders on when it comes to our team. Canzano and the Emerald and Yahoo are leading the way on this. We should not have blinders on. The Ducks will be back! But we want a clean program.

  • Duck in the couve

    You’re an idiot…if a frog grows wings he won’t have to jump either, if my aunt had balls…
    It’s not too late switch majors!
    Look just because the media says something it does not make it so. Think for your self!

    Prior to this article the media ( especially yahoo) was vilifying Lyles calling him a “street agent…Look at the headline now…now he’s a “college scout” because they want their article to look credible. And it has no credibility if their main character has none.

    This is all about readership and they don’t give a crap is they play with the facts. Think for your self….why would Lyles all of a sudden roll over for a media that was crucifying him weekly? follow the money! who’s ox is being gored and who is to gain?

    Oregon cut him off because they got sub par work for their money.  Now he’s pissed because he’s not getting an extra 25K for 2011-2012.

    Saying Oregon may have to get rid of Chip Kelly, and comparing Oregon’s situation with that of Ohio state,  with virtually no facts to back that up is as dumb as it gets…way to jump the shark

  • Duck in the couve

    You’re an idiot…if a frog grows wings he won’t have to jump either, if my aunt had balls…
    It’s not too late switch majors!
    Look just because the media says something it does not make it so. Think for your self!

    Prior to this article the media ( especially yahoo) was vilifying Lyles calling him a “street agent…Look at the headline now…now he’s a “college scout” because they want their article to look credible. And it has no credibility if their main character has none.

    This is all about readership and they don’t give a crap is they play with the facts. Think for your self….why would Lyles all of a sudden roll over for a media that was crucifying him weekly? follow the money! who’s ox is being gored and who is to gain?

    Oregon cut him off because they got sub par work for their money.  Now he’s pissed because he’s not getting an extra 25K for 2011-2012.

    Saying Oregon may have to get rid of Chip Kelly, and comparing Oregon’s situation with that of Ohio state,  with virtually no facts to back that up is as dumb as it gets…way to jump the shark

  • I’m Super Cereal

    Adam — your use of “we”, as if you are in any way an actual part of the program makes it clear to me that you have zero ability to see this thing objectively.  What’s it matter if it’s 200,000 or 25,000?  A rule has been broken.  Ducks are just mad that they didn’t cheat as well as Auburn.  All that money and cheating only bought second place.  Sad.

  • I’m Super Cereal

    Adam — your use of “we”, as if you are in any way an actual part of the program makes it clear to me that you have zero ability to see this thing objectively.  What’s it matter if it’s 200,000 or 25,000?  A rule has been broken.  Ducks are just mad that they didn’t cheat as well as Auburn.  All that money and cheating only bought second place.  Sad.

  • tony barile

    $25k seems like a lot to most of us but it is nothing in the consulting world. These guys may bill $200/hr and so that’s 150 hrs of work (1 month) . If they have travel expenses that may eat into it. The billing rate is an all in cost of the firm. High stakes is going to mean the rtes are higher. This is ordinary. So far there is no evidence Oregon or Kelly did anything wrong. The NCAA is a bunch of screwy wabbits.