Ducks say payment for recruiting services okay

Ducks say payment for recruiting services okay
Oregon coach Chip Kelly leads his team onto the field to face Arizona State in an NCAA football game Saturday, Sept. 25, 2010, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Paul Connors)

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — School officials have confirmed that Oregon paid about $28,000 to a pair of recruiting services, but claim the payments and services were within NCAA rules.

Yahoo! Sports reported Friday that Oregon paid $25,000 to Will Lyles of Complete Scouting Services in Houston. Lyles has a mentoring relationship with Ducks running back Lache Seastrunk and is also tied to running back LaMichael James, a Heisman trophy finalist.

ESPN.com, citing unidentified sources, reported the NCAA is probing Seastrunk's recruitment. Both Seastrunk and James are from Texas.

The Yahoo report also said that Oregon paid $3,745 to Baron Flenory of New Level Athletics. Flenory told Yahoo he also ran a recruiting service that provided Oregon with information about potential recruits, but the company no longer operates because of a change in NCAA rules.

The Oregon athletic department issued a statement Thursday night that said: "This is something we remain confident that is within the acceptable guidelines allowed by the NCAA and occurred with the knowledge of the department's compliance office."

If either men guided a recruit to Oregon, it would violate NCAA rules. The NCAA will not comment on ongoing investigations.

The Ducks went 12-1 this past season, falling to Auburn in the BCS title game. They were ranked No. 3 in the final Top 25. James led the nation in rushing with 1,731 yards.

Rumors had been swirling for the past week that Oregon was facing a possible investigation into recruiting violations.

"We have previously stated that we have not been in contact with anyone from the NCAA or Pacific-10 Conference in regards to these practices and that situation remains unchanged," Oregon's statement said.

Attempts to reach Flenory and Lyles by telephone on Thursday night were unsuccessful.