It turns out Oregon was that dumb.
It did get in bed with a talent scout to lure tailback Lache Seastrunk to Oregon if you draw the thinnest of conclusions from Friday's Yahoo! Sports story. It turns out that talent scout/mentor/third party/opportunist Will Lyles did essentially Photoshop a national recruiting package together follow Yahoo! Sports' initial report.
I didn't think Oregon could be so dumb. I was wrong.
The report details what is clearly a close relationship between Oregon and Lyles. The story says relationship with Chip Kelly goes back to 2007. The NCAA won't even have to try hard to classify Lyles as a representative of the university's athletic interests. In other words, a booster.
The tragedy of it is, Oregon and Kelly didn't have to do any of this. The program had the support of Nike behind it. Kelly himself is a heck of a coach and a tireless recruiter, although even that label must now be in question.
This isn't a case of the media fireflies being drawn to an upstart championship contender. The likes of Kelly, Jim Tressel and Bruce Pearl are making it too easy for us. They're sloppy and arrogant in their alleged wrongdoing. Think about how simpler life would be for Tressel if he had merely walked down the hall to his athletic director with those emails. Pearl would still be coaching if he told the truth. Kelly didn't need Seastrunk that badly. So far, the kid hasn't panned out.
Instead, he allegedly funneled tens of thousands of dollars to a shady character with a relationship to a recruit. My God, it's Texas football. There's plenty to go around for everyone. Was Seastrunk worth it? We know now the answer is no.
Fallout? According to the story, the NCAA has already been in to talk to Lyles. But Lyles said they didn't ask specific questions that Yahoo! Sports did (go figure). You can bet they'll be back in wanting to see Lyles' emails and phone records too. Why wouldn't he cooperate? Lyles has the morals of a slug anyway. It looks to me that the only reason he rolled on Oregon was that they weren't going to pay him again.
Be very concerned Duck Nation. Oregon is in line for major penalties, the kind that burn a program to the ground. USC-like. Kelly's job could be in jeopardy. This is not USC looking the other way while Reggie Bush took money, this is a willful attempt to gain a recruiting and competitive advantage.
Can anyone win big without cheating? The question remains unanswered.