FOX Sports Exclusive
Lyles: That's not who I am
During an exclusive, one-hour interview for my Real Talk podcast at FOXSportsradio.com, Willie Lyles, the media-labeled “street agent” at the center of an NCAA recruiting controversy, denied asking for $80,000 from a Texas A&M assistant coach to deliver then-All-America recruit Patrick Peterson.
“That was what was alleged and that was unequivocally false also,” Lyles said Friday afternoon in his only public comments since the scandal emerged in March. “That was never asked for. That type of conversation never happened.”
“That is unequivocally false,” said Lyles, a 31-year-old Houston businessman. “(Lache) chose Oregon because he felt Oregon was the best fit for him. He liked the running backs coach, Gary Campbell, and he felt it was a good system and a good fit for him. (Lache) enjoyed the campus when he went on his visit and he enjoyed the people. He made the decision that was best for him.”
Described as dangerous, a threat to college football and highly powerful by the media, Lyles claimed he earned $36,000 (before expenses) from his scouting services in 2010, lives in an 1,100-square-foot condo and drives a 2000 Nissan Xterra.
“The sensationalism of (the scandal) just caught like wildfire,” Lyles said. “It’s one of those things when you are the smaller entity . . . it’s almost like it’s a David-vs.-Goliath battle. They know you don’t have the resources. They know you don’t have the things to fight that battle, so they feel that they can come out and say whatever they want about you at any point and time and you really don’t have the means to fight back. What I’m doing in this interview today is I really want to get my side of the story out there because one of the few things that I am left with is my name.
“When you Google Will or Willie Lyles that’s what you see about me, and that’s not who I am. That’s not who I’m going to be in the future. period. I want to clean up my name because that was something that was given to me by a wonderful family and I want to be able to uphold that and have the utmost respect for it. That’s my primary motivation in coming out and getting my side of the story out because I have to live it. I have to live it every day. In the past month and a half, I’ve had to watch a reputation that took me eight years to build be torn down in a month, really torn down in days.”
Lyles believes people within the University of Texas football program and the school’s supporters have orchestrated the attack on his business and character. Lyles’ service and its ability to identify Texas high school recruits who might be willing to leave the state irritated Longhorns' coaches. Seastrunk and LaMichael James, running backs at Oregon, hail from Texas. The Longhorns finished 5-7 last year and recently signed a $300 million TV contract with ESPN.
“There’s a particular entity out there that would like to see the movement of players from the state of Texas to schools out of state stopped,” Lyles said. “It’s been well-documented on the blogosphere stating those objections and stating those issues with kids leaving the state of Texas.
“That would be the University of Texas and they do have a problem with people leaving the state of Texas.”
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