If you’re among the fire-eating LSU fans who become outraged at the mere suggestion that the Tigers and street agent Willie Lyles might have been involved in some out-of-bounds behavior, you might as well stop reading here. Save yourself the headache and save us the nasty emails.
If, however, you’re among the many, many rationale Tiger fans who are hoping for the best but preparing for the worst, we suggest you keep reading.
This much we know: Lyles — who has turned into a one-man nightmare for the Oregon football program — was also paid $6,000 by LSU for work he did for Les Miles’ staff. Lyles says that work was legit. LSU says that work was legit.
But as John DeShazier of The New Orleans Times-Picayune points out, that’s what Lyles said about Oregon, too… intially:
“But if he now is telling the truth about his relationship with Oregon coach Chip Kelly and Kelly’s assistants (and he seems to have documentation proving Oregon’s gratefulness for him wielding influence), we know his previous attempt to cover for himself and Oregon isn’t true. So you’ll have to forgive me if, given the way scandal has erupted throughout college sports — and, specifically, the way smut is leaking from big-time football in the BCS conferences — in the last calendar year along, I’m more inclined to presume guilt rather than innocence right now.
‘In eight years of working in scouting and working for bigger companies and doing different things in scouting, you get a chance to see a lot and do a lot,’ Lyles said Tuesday during an interview with a Portland, Oregon radio station. ‘You see a lot of things that go on.
‘That’s just stuff that I don’t want to even touch at this point and that’s about it. I haven’t decided on what information I do want to talk about at this point as far as dealing with them. I don’t want to say anything that’s out of line and out of turn as far as my dealings with LSU.’
Actually, it’s a little late in the game for Lyles to dummy up, given that he has given up Oregon via the claim that he believes Oregon paid him to steer players to Eugene.
So, to think Lyles and LSU would be incapable of doing what Lyles and Oregon apparently did would be beyond naive.”
Yes, it would. As DeShazier points out, there’s no reason to think that Miles and LSU did pay Lyles to steer prospects toward Baton Rouge — not yet anyway — but there’s also no reason to rule out that possibility. Even though many on The Bayou would definitely to do so.
First, LSU got itself mixed up with a guy who clearly walks outside the lines and has no problem — in Oregon’s case at least — being a rat. That’s not good. Whether he did anything improper for LSU or not, Lyles is trouble. That’s why the NCAA is likely to keep digging on Lyles and on all of his dealings with various schools.
Second, no school should ever want the NCAA snooping around its campus and that’s especially true right now. Mark Emmert and crew currently have their antennae up and their general mood suggests rule-breakers will be taken to the woodshed.
For those reasons, the wise fan clad in purple and gold will admit to being a little nervous over the Lyles situation. Not panicking, mind you, but nervous. And the wise fan is certainly not confident. With Lyles rolling over on the Oregon, how could he be?