This is probably a recruiting violation. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
On Saturday, March 5th, I sent Takimoto a link to John Canzano's latest article regarding the "allegations" surrounding high school football scout Willie Lyles and the Oregon football program. The next morning, I received a phone call from Heinz von Gelderstadt, attorney at law. It seems that Takimoto passed away shortly after reading the article. His will stated that he had bequeathed Tako Tuesdays to me. I decided to post this as a sort of "letter to the world" before the great spirits took him from us. Keep Tako in your thoughts today, as well as anyone in else of your life who John Canzano has driven into insanity, and eventually a gruesome bloody-vomit-choking-related death. - Matt Daddy
Tako Tuesdays: Proof Reading
It's my Mount Everest, my moon landing, my 68 hot dogs eaten in twelve minutes. It's dangerous, ill-advised, and more unnecessary than my Hasselhoff episode. But here it goes: I am doing to try to unravel the mystery of John Canzano, one single-sentence paragraph at a time. This is from Canzano's "It's Time to Shed Some Light" article - warning: clicking the link will lead to a John Canzano article.
The University of Oregon ended a dicey week with NCAA investigators focused on the football program's curious payment to a street agent named Willie Lyles last spring.
The key word here is "curious." If he merely omitted the word, the sentence would be merely objective and accurate. If he used a different word like, "sizable," "egregious," or "egregiously sizable," it takes a stand, limiting the directions the rest of the piece could go. But "curious"? Curious is vague and non-committal. It editorializes the sentence by adding intrigue, but doesn't really say anything at all. Now, the rest of the article is free to wander around aimlessly without seeming poorly thought out. All in all, a good start.
In question isn't whether Lyles' "Complete Scouting Service" -- which is run out of Lyles' two-bedroom condominium with no evidence that it's registered as a business with the state of Texas -- provided services to Oregon.
Great set up. I especially like the way that he uses the phrase "with no evidence that it's registered as a business with the state of Texas" as a way to paint Lyles as a shady character even though he's painting Oregon as shady despite having no evidence that they did anything wrong. Classic Canzano. Now that he's teased us with a question, he's definitely gonna hit us with an aggressive, hard-hitting question that mega-definitely isn't worded awkwardly.
Rather, the question that will determine the Ducks' fate is, exactly what does $25,000 buy you?
BOOM! IN YOUR FACE OREGON! You are soooooooo sanction'd. All this scathery and decepterousness is making me all tingly. I'm so excited to hear what $25,000 buys, I can't feel my tongue!
Lyles has mentor-like connections with a line of Ducks recruits that includes redshirt freshman running back Lache Seastrunk and Heisman finalist LaMichael James. A high-ranking UO athletic department source said Thursday that coach Chip Kelly, and others, became aware as they recruited Seastrunk that Lyles was involved in a personal relationship with the running back's mother.
He's an artist of the highest caliber, painting a picture with his words. Not only has he managed to make it appear that there is a line of Duck recruits standing outside William Lyles' two-bedroom condo waiting for Uncle Phil's handout money, but by connecting two unrelated sentences in the same paragraph, he has made the reader believe that Lyles is, most likely, sleeping with the mothers of that entire line of Duck recruits. And why mention LaMichael James? The $25,000 payment in question was made after LMJ had been enrolled at Oregon for three years! But now that James has been mentioned, the last three years of Oregon football, including the two Pac-10 championships and the national championship game appearance, are called into question. This brings me to Rule #1 of the John Canzano Recipe for Success: Blatant Passive Insinuation, But Don't Use Your Words!
In the end, Seastrunk chose Oregon over California, LSU and USC. Texas felt jilted, too, as Lyles hinted to coaches there that Seastrunk might end up in Austin. The Longhorns no longer deal with him. Also aggrieved was a Florida-based scouting service that previously employed Lyles and had a bad falling out with him. Elite Scouting Services was ticked because it believed Lyles' one-man scouting service had tremendous influence with recruits and was now poaching its clients.
At a cursory glance, this looks like Will Lyles has pissed off pretty much the entire country. But let's look closer. "In the end, Seastrunk chose Oregon over California, LSU, and USC. Texas felt jilted, too," AH-HA! YOU DID IT AGAIN YOU SNEAKY BASTARD! By saying, "Texas felt jilted, too," he implied that Cal, LSU, and USC also felt jilted by Lyles' actions, when they were probably just a normal amount of disappointed, and I highly doubt their first reaction to losing a 5-star running back to a team coming off a BCS bowl was THAT DASTARDLY WILL LYLES AND HIS MOM-SEDUCING MAN-PARTS! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
This is how trouble stirs in the world of college football, see. It leads the NCAA to ask, did Lyles take money and steer recruits to Oregon?
You're right John Canzano, media fear-mongering IS how trouble stirs in the world of college football...see.
The Ducks have moved in the last 72 hours to distance themselves from Lyles -- something the should have done from the beginning. The damage-control period is on in full force.
This is good. Now he'll present hard evidence that Oregon is, in fact, distancing themselves from Lyles. And I'm glad he chose not to fix the typo. It lets the reader know that he is human, and not a poorly-and-hastily-written-editorials cyborg.
Lyles slapped up a "2011 national package" on his website with a convenient $25,000 price tag on Friday. It didn't exist on the website 24 hours earlier. Athletic director Rob Mullens issued a statement, too, reiterating that Oregon believes it didn't break NCAA rules and would cooperate with investigators. And Kelly told at least one person that the program needed to get away from Lyles -- fast.
Wait a minute. That was Will Lyles changing his website, Rob Mullens saying that Oregon would cooperate with any potential investigators, and an unfounded Chip Kelly rumor that wasn't even credible enough to grace with the tagline "a high-ranking UO athletic department source." That had nothing to do with the previous mini-graph. I feel funny. I'm starting to see spots, and the roof of my mouth is getting really hot.
What's clear is Lyles consistently gains the trust of blue-chip recruits, at least in Texas. They must feel like they need him. Maybe because they recognize that he's a gatekeeper to places like Eugene. Maybe because many of those he "mentors" have little or no family structure.
Maybe it's because the back of my neck is starting to blister, but it sounds like Lyles acts as a parent figure to young kids who otherwise might not have that guidance, and helps them go to college for free, but it's a bad thing. Why is my leg twitching? That's weird.
But the questions today shouldn't be for Seastrunk or James or anyone else who will run, block and tackle. The questions aren't either for Ducks fans, who root, believe and invest in a dream with donations and season-ticket packages. Rather, some sunshine needs to be cast on Lyles and the athletic department and football program at Oregon.
Awwww, he just wants Lyles to get some sunshine! That's sweet. Although I bet he gets a lot of sun in Texas. It's a big state, almost as big as Canada. I hope Lyles owns flip-flops, those are great for the outside. Man, my hand has a lot of fingers.
After that, let's light up this entire blasted "scouting service" racket. Because no matter how they describe it on websites or invoices, what they're really selling is trouble.
That's a great idea actually. It's too bad the NCAA is off on this Oregon witch hunt and isn't actually investigating "scouting services." Wait... Whoa, I never knew it was that easy to pull out a big chunk of my hair! I'm like a superhero!
A purchase order obtained by The Oregonian details that Lyles billed them for "Game films, Highlight film" from 22 states. And if you ask Kelly what was provided he'll tell you the Ducks received contact information for players -- "names and phone numbers." Basically, access.
Great scott! That's nothing but a this of completely legal things that are postured to be unethical and slimy! Where the fuck did my toenails go?
The NCAA and football teams aren't the only ones with a stake in how this is handled. Consider the families, too. Seastrunk's mother, for one, is miffed. "Willie said he was a trainer," Evelyn Seastrunk told ESPN.com. "Now Oregon says he's a scout? Is he on Oregon's payroll? If Willie Lyles collected $25,000 off my son he needs to be held accountable. The NCAA must find out for me. I don't know how to digest someone cashing in on my son."
Oh my. Now im concerned. If Lyles is just exploiting these kids, then he should be punished to the full extent of the law.
Right now, I'm not sure who to believe in this mess. A Ducks coach told me Seastrunk's mother, who gave up guardianship of her son to his grandmother after legal troubles, requested (and was denied) permission to come on her son's official visit to Oregon.
Or maybe she's just mad at Oregon? And when did he start writing in the first person? I must've missed that because of the lightning storm sensation going on in my lower abdomen.
"She told us she went on visits to Cal and USC," the source said. "We don't do that."
Now that doesn't make any sense. Why is he ugh-ing at Oregon having different rules regarding official visits than Cal and USC? Why would he do that? That's so unfair to Oregon! Oh God, why do my tears taste like mayonnaise?!? WHAT IS HAPPENING TO ME?!?!?
Yo, want to make a quick $25,000?
Of course I do!
Hang around high school kiddies who run fast. Date their mothers. Put up a website.
Done, done, and addictedtoquack.com.
Then leave it to someone else to answer the questions that follow you.
I did that months ago, that's why I created Bill.Musgrave@gmail.com. I still don't understand how this is going to make me rich, Mr. Magical Letters Conjurer. The Gummi Bears on the inside of my eyes must be getting in the way of my mindthoughts.
I keep hearing everyone at Oregon say that all the right people signed off on the payment to Lyles. But when you probe deeper, all you really get is, "Our compliance people didn't have a problem with it." But did Oregon provide compliance with an accurate characterization of what they were buying? And did they tell them from whom?
Ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow I don't like this I don't like this no no no no no no no! It's the compliance department's job to investigate these things! They aren't just signature monkeys who say yes to everything the AD tells them to say yes to! Do you even know what a compliance office is you self-absorbed hack! Gahhhhhh, my leg hair is on fire! MY LEG HAIR IS ON FIRE!!!!
I want to know. You want to know. The NCAA will ask, too.
DON'T TELL ME HOW I THINK! DON'T YOU DARE TELL ME HOW I FUCKING THINK!!!!
Before UO issued that check to Lyles, Oregon should have asked for help from the NCAA on what constituted a scouting service. If Lyles is a scouting service, so are you. So am I. So is anyone who has a cell phone and access to a prized recruit.
I feel warm and cold, all at once.
Oregon wants desperately to be a big-time football program. It wants big-dollar television games. It wants top recruits. It wants the best facilities. It wants to be in the discussion. But the leap from wanting that to realizing that doesn't come from copying the mannerisms and habits of other troubled big-time programs as if the Ducks were Little Leaguers, stepping in and out of a batter's box, adjusting their batting gloves, pretending to chew tobacco.
Who just said that? Cut it out! I don't even own an axe Gerald, just DROP IT! I'M NOT THAT KIND OF GIRL! YOU CAN'T JUST MAKE AN AWFUL CROSS-SPORT ANALOGY AND EXPECT ME TO CUT OFF MY OWN ARM AND SELL IT FOR DOG FOOD MONEY!
One of the first things we heard when the news about the Lyles relationship broke was, "Everyone's doing it."
Wait, we? Oh God. He's cloned himself. And they're talking to each other. Losing motor function. And I tnhik I'm bgninennig ot xmi ym lttres up.
Parents of teenagers must have laughed out loud when they heard that line from Oregon as justification for funding the Lyles Project. The "We've don't think we've done anything wrong" line keeps coming from Oregon. I don't know. I'm thinking we should probably defer to the NCAA for that declaration.
Another typo. Throat feels swollen. Trouble breathing. Can't find phone. Someone. Please help.
Then again, the NCAA may send the same crew it dispatched on the Cam Newton investigation.
I think I'm going to be OK. I just might get through this alivvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvv
If that happens, we may never get sunshine.