Greeson: Oregon's Kelly will be linked

Greeson: Oregon's Kelly will be linked

July 8th, 2011 by Jay Greeson in Sports - Columns

There are always names that become linked through college football scandal. Terrelle Pryor and Jim Tressel. Pat Dye and Eric Ramsey. Reggie Bush and Reggie Bush's ego. It happens.

It appears that Chip Kelly and Willie Lyles will join that list now that the spin cycle from the Oregon Ducks football fan base has flipped the switch into mass hysteria.

Lyles used to run a recruiting service and was paid $25,000 by Oregon for what appears to be less-than-stellar scouting information. Lyles said he made some mistakes, and it is now clear to him that Oregon paid him for his access and influence with recruits, namely running backs LaMichael James and Lache Seastrunk, two highly rated Texas speedsters.

It gets worse. Lyles said he had a working deal directly with Kelly, who originally denied knowing Willie Lyles. When asked by John Canzano, the outstanding columnist for the Oregonian, about his original claim that he did not know "Willie Lyles," Kelly said, "around here, we call him 'Will.' We've already distanced ourselves from him, trust me."

The NCAA has interviewed Lyles and made at least one trip to Oregon. If Kelly has lied to the NCAA - or floated out that mumbo-jumbo that he did not know "Willie Lyles" but was well-aware of "Will Lyles" - then, well, you know how this will play out. Just ask Jim Tressel or Bruce Pearl.

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On the subject of Pearl, the former University of Tennessee basketball coach spoke with an Atlanta sports talk radio show earlier this week.

He sounded remorseful and contrite. He sounded almost sympathetic. He also sounded hopeful about the prospects of coaching again.

"I do think that I'm going to have the opportunity to coach again," Pearl told AM 790 The Zone. "I've got to wait and see what the Committee on Infractions - how quickly will they allow me to come back into coaching. That's going to go a long way towards whether or not I do coach again."

It's hard to see the COI taking anything other than a stern view of Pearl, who lied to NCAA investigators, and he'll likely receive at least a two-year show-cause penalty (the scarlet letter that means any future potential NCAA-member employer has to show cause to the NCAA why Pearl deserves another shot).

Beyond that, which programs would want to invite the NCAA microscope on to campus by hiring Pearl? Not many.

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It's a testament to the level of world-class stinkitude that the Braves needed almost 20 consecutive years of excellence to get to eight games over .500 all-time.

In stops in Boston, Milwaukee and Atlanta, the Braves are 9,998-9,990 all-time after Thursday's 6-3 win over Colorado. For the love of Chuck Tanner's lineup cards, that's hard to believe.

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Experts say the Auburn trees may not be doomed after all.

Auburn University horticulturist Gary Keever told the Associated Press that it's impossible to know whether the trees will survive or not. Harvey Updyke Jr., the 62-year-old Alabama fan with a son named Bear and a daughter named Crimson Tyde, was indicted on charges including criminal mischief and desecration of a venerated object.

If the trees live, do those charges change to "attempted" criminal mischief and "attempted" desecration of a venerated object? Everyone has discussed how ignorant Updyke's actions were, but if the trees survive, does that make him incompetent, too?