I took the time this weekend to catch up on the street agent scandal which is unfolding at the University of Oregon. ESPN and Yahoo did a nice job breaking the story but what I find more compelling is the view from the newspapers in Portland and Eugene.
The mood is pretty somber and predisposed toward the idea that when the NCAA is finished digging around that the Ducks are going to be going on probation. The NCAA wants to crack down on the relationships between schools and street agents and this gives them the opportunity on a silver platter to do exactly that.
The key issue here is whether alleged street agent Will Lyles was paid to recruit players for Oregon. The Ducks say no...the NCAA says prove it...and Lyles in his own words says he helps out the Oregon coaches from time to time. No matter how Oregon spins this it is not going to be pretty.
Anyway you slice it $25,000 was a huge amount of money to pay for a national scouting report, but it is a bargain if it helped deliver LaMichael James and Lache Seastrunk to Oregon. The NCAA's job is to find out exactly what Oregon was paying for...nobody believes that it was for a national scouting report.
Rob Mosley of the Register Guard writes:
What did the Ducks get for the $25,000 they paid to Will Lyles? When the NCAA comes to visit with a message to send, you’re in for a bad time.
George Schroeder of the Register Guard chips in with more detail:
When it comes to the NCAA, this isn’t so much about hammering Oregon. The Ducks have simply provided the opening the NCAA has been waiting for the chance to send a message about the expanding influence of street agents in football recruiting.
John Canzano of the Oregonian add his two cents:
Whatever Lyles sold Oregon -- contact numbers and information, we're led to believe -- came with a deeper, darker price. Worst case, Oregon knew it was buying players. At the very least, this transaction comes with serious question about why Oregon paid a slick character so much public money.
Addicted to Quack isn't worried yet:
At this point, I'm not worried. This type of thing is part of being near the top of the college football rules, and there is, right now, no evidence that Oregon broke any NCAA rules. The NCAA will look into this issue, as they should, but early reports show they are looking into the street agent system in general, and not Oregon itself, though it's a good bet the Ducks will be looked at closely.
Sports By Brooks asks if Oregon paid for video's that didn't exist?
Thanks to the extraordinary nature of what appears to be smoking gun evidence against the Ducks football program in its seeming lacking transaction with a notorious college football street agent, this case may also extend beyond the NCAA.