LSU paid $6,000 in December for football scouting services provided by Will Lyles, about whom a Tigers signee was interviewed last week by NCAA investigators.
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Louisiana State University associate athletic director Herb Vincent said Monday the Tigers paid the money to Lyles’ business, Complete Scouting Services. Vincent said he did not know whether LSU paid Lyles in previous years.
“That’s one of about a dozen recruiting services we contracted with,” said Vincent of Lyles’ Complete Scouting Services.
Lyles is a reputed Houston “street agent,” a third party who steers recruits to specific schools. Lyles has recently drawn scrutiny from the NCAA for his relationship with Oregon players. Efforts to reach Lyles were unsuccessful again Monday.
LSU spokesman Michael Bonnette said the Tigers no longer use Lyles’ scouting service but did not explain why. Bonnette also said LSU coach Les Miles knows Lyles “a little bit but doesn’t know much more about him.”
Last week, two NCAA investigators interviewed Trevon Randle, who signed with LSU last month, about his contact with Lyles, according to a source familiar with the situation. In addition to Randle, an outside linebacker at Clear Springs High School in League City, Texas, investigators interviewed his coach, Clint Hartman, and Randle’s father, Raymond Edwards.
Hartman declined comment last week about his meeting with the NCAA investigators. But in January he told FOXSports.com that LSU defensive line coach Brick Haley accompanied Lyles to Clear Springs High last spring in a visit about Randle.
If Lyles assisted in or was involved in the recruitment of any player to LSU, the NCAA would consider him a booster and any payment to him would be considered a violation of Bylaw 13. The rule prohibits boosters from directing a recruit to a school.
NCAA spokeswoman Stacey Osburn declined comment Monday about investigators conducting interviews about Lyles. She cited the NCAA’s policy of not commenting on current, pending or potential investigations.
According to Hartman, he saw Lyles with Haley last spring but told Lyles to return to the parking lot, away from his players. Hartman said he later called Haley to tell him Lyles was never to return to Clear Springs High.
During that conversation, according to Hartman, Haley said he didn’t know Lyles. Haley said Lyles showed up because he was helping another LSU coach who had previously visited Clear Springs High.
But Hartman said LSU had not recruited at Clear Springs High before.
Randle told FOXSports.com in January that he and his father met Lyles in January 2010 at the U.S. Army All-American Combine in San Antonio.
Randle committed to LSU a month later at a Tigers junior-recruit day. Randall decided to attend LSU’s event one day before deciding not to go to an Oklahoma junior day.
Randle said he consulted with his parents before choosing LSU and that his father is “pretty tight” with Lyles. Randle said he later spent time with Lyles at LSU summer camps.
“Now, that’s a funny guy right there,” Randle said of Lyles. “That guy right there, he can eat. He knows about every restaurant in Baton Rouge, and he introduced me to all of them. If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t know anything about the food places down there.”
Randle said Lyles was particularly close with Haley, who recruited him to LSU. Efforts to reach Haley have been unsuccessful.
LSU is the second school to publicly acknowledge making payments to Lyles for his scouting services.
Earlier this month, Oregon released an invoice for which it paid $25,000 to Lyles in March 2010 for a “2011 National Package" from his company, Complete Scouting Services. He submitted the invoice on Feb. 22, 2010, less than three weeks after Temple, Texas, product Lache Seastrunk, one of last year’s top high school running backs, signed with Oregon in what many viewed as a surprising decision.
Oregon maintains it has committed no wrongdoing and that contracting scouting services like Lyles’ is allowed under NCAA rules. Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens said the Ducks are cooperating with the NCAA’s request for documents related to their purchases of services from scouting agencies.
But the NCAA is looking into Lyles’ relationships with Seastrunk and another Texas product, Ducks star tailback LaMichael James, ESPN.com reported earlier this month.
Lyles also visited Clear Springs High last spring with Oregon running backs coach Gary Campbell regarding Randle.
NCAA investigators recently interviewed running back Trey Williams of Andy Dekaney High School in Houston and his coach, Willie Amendola, about Lyles, according to a source familiar with the situation.
Lyles accompanied Campbell when he visited Amendola about Williams during the 2009 season, Amendola said. Like Seastrunk previously, Williams is considered one of the nation’s top running backs, but so far the Class of 2012 recruit has not made a college choice.