The details surrounding Oregon football’s relationship with the scout Willie Lyles and his fledgling recruiting service were already looking bad. Lyles had exchanged emails with the Oregon staff; he had helped players maintain their eligibility at the high school level. He had provided the Oregon staff with reams of recruiting materials that, upon closer inspection, were full of old, useless information.
It gets much, much worse than that with the release of Yahoo’s investigation into Lyles’ services and his relationship with Oregon. The report goes into great detail about exactly what Lyles did for Oregon, right down to including pictures of handwritten thank you notes from Kelly to Lyles. The most crucial bit regarding the future of Chip Kelly at the University of Oregon, though, is this:
The picture he painted to Yahoo! Sports was one of a man serving dual roles as adviser and fixer in the complicated recruiting and eligibility process for local players, while also engaging in a nuanced professional relationship with the college coaches pursuing those same recruits.
That combined with Oregon’s documented last-minute scramble to provide something, anything resembling a scouting report generated by Lyles, will be what the NCAA weighs in evaluating the Ducks’ case.
As for Kelly, his future has to be considered very much in doubt now. If Oregon defends him, they may be punished more harshly by the NCAA; if they jettison him as Ohio State did with Jim Tressel, well…all of us would be lying if we said we knew what the NCAA was going to do at any given moment in any instance, especially in a gray area like the use of recruiting services.