The University of Oregon paid more than $28,000 to two men with ties to multiple recruits who signed letters of intent with the school, Yahoo! Sports has learned.
According to State of Oregon expenditure records, the university paid $25,000 to Will Lyles of Complete Scouting Services in Houston, and $3,745 to Baron Flenory of New Level Athletics. Lyles is a former athletic trainer who recently was serving as a mentor to highly touted Ducks running back recruit Lache Seastrunk. Meanwhile, Flenory runs the Badger Sports Elite 7-on-7 football camps which have featured several celebrated Ducks signees including running back DeAnthony Thomas, defensive back Cliff Harris, defensive back Dior Mathis and wideout Tacoi Sumler. Flenory had a personal training relationship with recent Ducks signee Anthony Wallace.
If Lyles and Flenory aided in or were involved in any way in the recruitment of student athletes to Oregon, they would be classified as boosters by the NCAA, and any payment to them from the school would be considered a violation of Bylaw 13. Bylaw 13 prohibits boosters from directing a recruit to a school.
A message left on the cell phone of Oregon coach Chip Kelly was not immediately returned, and there was no answer on a number listed for Lyles. Flenory said the payment to him was for a recruiting service that his company set up for Oregon. The package included names, birthdates and other info on potential recruits. Flenory said the package to Oregon was the only one ever sold by his company because “we stopped doing it because the NCAA said recruiting services could no longer do camps on college campuses. Because we were running camps, we decided that was a better business for us than to sell the recruiting packages.”
Flenory said he didn’t have an invoice readily available for the service, but that his company approached the school and offered the package. He said the school instructed him how he could be paid for the recruiting package. Flenory said he played no part in players either visiting or signing with the University of Oregon, and didn’t understand why the NCAA would have a problem with him.
"We stopped doing it when the NCAA made the rule,” Flenory said.
The payouts all took place within the last fiscal year and appeared in the annual college budget expenditures for the university. According to records, the monies were paid under the account for “Books, Publications and other References.” The $25,000 check was made out to “Willie J. Lyles/dba [doing business as] Complete Scouting”. The check to Flenory was made payable to his company, New Level Athletics.
Lyles became a known quantity on the football scene as a personal trainer in Houston while running a company called Speed Dynamics. The company held conditioning camps for players on college campuses. The camps were typically held in the summer and focused improving the speed and overall fitness of players as they headed into the fall football season. Lyles has also been affiliated with Complete Scouting Services, which claims to offer a national high school scouting and video database nationwide.
Flenory received his college degree from the University of New Hampshire, where he played under current Oregon coach Chip Kelly. Following his senior season in 2005, Flenory remained close to football, joining Scout.com as the company’s Midwest Scouting Director. In that position he made widespread connections with high school coaches and was charged with evaluating national prospects for the service. After leaving Scout.com, Flenory established New Level, which runs 7-on-7 tournaments and camps for the development of skill position players in the prep football ranks. Since the establishment of New Level, the tournaments have come to field some of the most coveted high school recruits in the country and include 32 traveling teams nationally.
Contact Yahoo! Sports investigative reporter Charles Robinson at WindyCityScribe@yahoo.com