Offseasons and Oregon just don't seem to go well together. Last year a spate of arrests and the dismissal of Jeremiah Masoli took some of the shine off of the Ducks' Rose Bowl berth, and now the news that the NCAA is looking into Oregon's $25,000 payment to the recruiting service of a man named Will Lyles no doubt has upped the nervousness level in Eugene.
But for clarity's sake regarding the Oregon case, it's worth noting that the (potential) issue isn't Chip Kelly's use of recruiting services; it's the surprisingly large sum paid to Lyles and Lyles' connection to Duckrunning backs LaMichael James and Lache Seatrunk that seems to be in question.
That point was driven home by stories on either side of the country this week, illustrating that plenty of major college football programs are also putting recruiting services to use. One of those is Georgia, who Seth Emerson of the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reports spent just under $40,000 on such services in 2009 and 2010:
The biggest expenditures were to LRS Sports, Inc., a service based in Springfield Ill. LRS states on its web site that it “delivers detailed, up-to-date, state-by-state databases of available high school and junior college athletes in the Southeast" ...The second? Washington, who the Seattle Times reported distributed a little less than $40,000 itself this past year to nine different services. As with Georgia, those services are making no secret of their association with the Huskies. And neither school reportedly has drawn any interest from the Ncaa. (Not for that reason, anyway, where the Bulldogs are concerned .)
- In August of 2010, Georgia gave $11,000 to Bluechip Athletic Solutions, an Atlanta-based company.
- And also in August of 2010, Georgia paid $4,500 to Elite Scouting Services, which is based in Hollywood, Fla. According to its web site, Elite Scouting Services provides a database of high school players, game film of players and access to scouts.
There’s nothing secret about the associations.
Bluechip touts its association with a couple dozen schools, including Georgia.
So maybe the Ducks are, in fact, in trouble. But if so, it'll be because they worked with the wrong service for the wrong reasons, not for simply employing a recruiting service to begin with.