clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Your Move, Mr. Emmert.

So here's an idea. Let's kick off the hioliday weekend with a huge flaming brown paper bag of awful on Oregon coach Chip Kelly's doorstep. Wouldn't that be fun?

By now you already know about the slowly building firestorm surrounding Oregon's payments to Texas recruiting guru Will Lyles. Oregon has said that Lyles provided them with valuable information in exchange for $25,000. Lyles has now done an hours long,on the record interview with Yahoo! Sports, and says . . .{drumroll please}

"I look back at it now and they paid for what they saw as my access and influence with recruits,"

Well that's quite forthright and plainspoken, isn't it? Lyles also told Yahoo! that the reason that footage released recently and alleged to be his contribution to the Ducks' recruiting effort looked like it was thrown together at the last minute was because, eh, it was thrown together at the last minute. After an urgent request from Kelly for Lyles to get something together to show for that $25,000.

I said as recently as last week that this thing would likely die quietly unless somebody opened his mouth about it. Mouth. Opened. What Lyles is describing is a) himself as a representative of Oregon's athletic interest (a "booster" in common parlance) steering recruits to the University of Oregon after receiving tens of thousands of dollars for a steaming pile of grainy, outdated digital crap. Also, color the Oregon athletic department stupid for paying with a school check for . . .nothing they could legitimately pay for. Certain members of the SEC and Big XII frown disapprovingly in your direction Oregon. You're doing it wrong.

This also raises the question of what Mark Emmert and the crack investigation team in Indianapolis will do with this. While they're used to dealing with incomplete information, innuendo, rumor and grudge-fueled allegations, what will they do when a guy comes out and says "I was paid cash money by Oregon to influence recruits and, what do you know, they ended up going to Oregon!" Oregon can certainly characterize the transaction differently than Mr. Lyles does. That's their right, and we should definitely give equal consideration to the possibility that Lyles may have an ax to grind or an agenda to serve. But this is about as close to a smoking gun as Emmert and crew are ever gonna get. It will be interesting to see how they handle it.

Kudos to Lyles however for reading the writing on the wall. Oregon already brought in a guy known for sealing the leaks around foundering athletic ships. They were going to roll over on Lyles, it was just a matter of when they would start blaming him and what exactly they would blame him for. He may have beaten the Ducks to the punch, and we'll all have a more interesting weekend for it. God Bless you, Will Lyles. Sorry Duck (and Cover) Nation.