Can Oregon Duck NCAA Probe?

The NCAA is at it again.  Never mind they refuse to help players out and make millions off their blood, sweat and tears.  Never is that more in play than this month and March Madness.  But now the Governing Body is going after recruiting services.

For years Recruiting services have been helping High School athletes around the country find colleges to play for, no matter what level.  Division 1, 2 or 3 and even NAIA.  Most of these services charge the parents and make DVD’s of the player’s highlights, put together a nice resume and call coaching contacts to try and get their player picked up.

This procedure is not unlike an agent for a pro athlete, without the perks.  An agent will help with Public Relations and damage control.  The recruiting service won’t.  But where these agencies can help is the lower sports, where a recruiting budget for the Women’s swim team or Men’s Lacrosse isn’t very big.   Sometimes the school finds paying for the service is cost-effective, offsetting traveling expenses for the coach.

Yet Thursday the NCAA started a crusade against these services.   The NCAA claims that the University of Oregon football program made two payments totaling over $28,000 to men who had relationships with multiple recruits.  Oregon has defended those payments, saying that they were legitimately paid to Willie Lyles and Baron Flenory for recruiting services.

Lyles is a former athletic trainer who recently was serving as a mentor to highly touted Ducks running back recruit Lache Seastrunk.  Flenory runs the Badger Sports Elite 7-on-7 football camps which have featured several celebrated Ducks signees including running back DeAnthony Thomas, defensive back Cliff Harris, defensive back Dior Mathis and wideout Tacoi Sumler. Flenory had a personal training relationship with recent Ducks signee Anthony Wallace.  Coaches all over the country run camps like these and recruit in them, only to be paid for the athlete to attend.

$28,000 may seem like a lot for a recruiting service, but look at the athletes they worked with.  6 in this instance.  The NCAA would like to make a case out of the timing of the payments and how they coincide with the commitment of the players to come to Oregon.  That would seem to be legitimate timing of a business deal and everything on the up and up.  Nothing was hidden and checks were used.  No sign of a cover-up is evident.

Under NCAA rules, the two men would be classified as boosters if they were involved in the recruitment of players to Oregon, and any payment would be considered a violation of Bylaw 13.  Keep in mind these people have a working relationship.  Flenory played under Oregon head coach Chip Kelly when Kelly was the offensive coordinator for New Hampshire.  Are you saying the NCAA wants to regulate personal relationship now?

Trying to control athletes and what they do, sell, eat, where they sleep, how many hours they practice, how many days they work out in the off season and everything else these players do may be within the view of the NCAA, but since when do they control a private business or entity?  Is Flenory a booster of Oregon or New Hampshire, where he played?  Imagine how many “boosters” Dennis Erickson of Arizona State has in his 30+ years and 6 schools of coaching.  I think the definition of booster is evident and the NCAA is pushing the rules here because they think the amount Flenory and Lyles were paid is outrageous.  Oregon admits what they did and said in a statement the payments were made under acceptable terms under NCAA rules.  So far the NCAA disagrees and could slap large sanctions against the school.

What the NCAA makes on these kids without returning anything to the player is outrageous.  The NCAA likes to say the player is getting a free education in return for their play.  However the school is giving that education to the player, not the NCAA.  What is the NCAA giving up to the player?

Not a dime!

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