Thursday, July 28, 2011

July 28, 2011
38

Time for a new tidbit that might shed even more light on how mangled Lache Seastrunks relationships were during his last two years of high school.

We have heard Lyles call himself Lache's “mentor." Yahoo printed such statements as fact simply because they came from the man's mouth. But that's the thing about mentor's; typically, kids who are mentored by someone appreciate their mentors and talk candidly about how important the mentor is to their life. I have spent countless hours scouring through every recruiting article with Seastrunk all the way back to the July 2008 Texas A&M camp where Lyles says he met Seastrunk. I do not doubt that they met at this camp, I do not doubt that Lyles planted himself firmly in the mind of Lache Seastrunk; but I doubt Lache Seastrunk ever considered him a mentor. In all those hours in front of every Lache Seastruink article, not once is there a mention of Will Lyles. Not once. But he does mention a mentor! It just isn't Will Lyles!

Before talking about his mentor, his recruitment bears mentioning and detailing just a little bit. In an article on the Rivals Network titled “The Next Internet Sensation?” Lache first mentions his troubled upbringing and where he had began to seek advice:

Seastrunk already has faced the obstacles of an at-risk youth and handled them well. His father hasn't been part of his life. His mother hasn't been there much of the time, either. 
 
"She wasn't around for a while," he said. "She made some wrong decisions in life."

Seastrunk was raised by his grandmother, and received sound guidance from an uncle and from a cousin, Terrell Jackson, a wide receiver at Buffalo. "He (Jackson) was always telling me to stay focused and don't let anyone get you off-track,"


Early on, it was fairly clear that Lache was fully aware of his mother's issues. He is fairly clear from LONG before he needed to find approval for his grandmother to sign his Letter of Intent that it was she who deserved the credit for raising him. This is no indication that he did not love his mother... quite the opposite is true. In fact, the recruiting world was abuzz when Lache wore USC socks to a summer camp, many assumed he had become a silent commit. However, in an interview with Mike Farrell, Lache dispelled that myth rather quickly by telling Mike that he only wore them because they were a gift from his mother and “anything momma gives me is good luck.”


When recruiting began to heat up, though Texas was often mentioned, another school began to stand out: Auburn. In fact, he was so spellbound by Auburn that he actually hung their mail on his wall! Only two schools received that honor early on... Auburn and LSU. He revealed that in March 2009.


From that point forward there were two early leaders, hanging on his wall. LSU was high on his list, not because of any mysterious force (recruiting service) but because he was originally FROM Louisiana! Yep, his family moved from Louisiana to Texas. Now we know one of the reasons his mother favored LSU. He lost contact with LSU, however, when their running backs coach left for Memphis. And this is the theme of his recruitment, he made very good bonds with people and let those bonds guide him.


The team with the biggest early lead, though, was Auburn. Between April 2009 and July 2009, Seastrunk visited Auburn three times. On his first visit in April 2009, he was accompanied by his mother. He visited again in late May for what Auburn called “Big Cat Weekend.” This was an informal gathering where there were no evaluations or football drills, only a bunch of high school juniors gathering for fun and food. It is likely this incident which triggered the NCAA to look at whether Auburn was violating rules in regards to his recruitment.


In Lache's third visit, he became involved in a celebration at Toomer's corner. During this, visit he was recorded on video as saying “What's up Nick Saban?” He later apologized for the actions, but it is believed that this was considered a violation due to the manner in which he was taped while recruited. Lache later apologized to Nick Saban personally. It was after this visit that Auburn began to back off of recruiting Lache Seastrunk.

It is fairly well chronicled that Lache was widely believed to be a strong USC lean after Auburn backed off and LSU lost their running backs coach. He even indicated this was true in an interview with Brandon Oliver of Duck Sports Authority in January just after he verbally committed to Oregon.

“The home run threat was thought to be a Southern California lean by some while Pete Carroll was still in charge. That was also before he visited Oregon in December and had a chance to familiarize himself with the Oregon staff, players, facilities and community.

"I couldn't picture myself at USC anymore, so I started picking coach(Chip) Kelly's brain and asking him questions. The more and more I learned about him it felt more and more right. I love his system."

And, here comes the important part, in February, 2010 shortly after signing his Letter of Intent to play football at the University of Oregon, Jason Vondersmith of The Portland Tribune interviewed Lache.

I have discussed this article in the past, but there is a tidbit in there that might shake the foundations a little bit... Lache Seastrunk refers to a mentor in this article!

From the article we find the following quote:

“Seastrunk had originally intended to sign with USC, until coach Pete Carroll left for the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks. Oregon quickly became the front-runner for his services, and Seastrunk had his mentor, Deanna Carter, pushing for the Ducks.”

Deanna Carter was an Assessment Specialist at Temple High School as well as Lache's Counselor. This is important because in her words “They’re excellent men of character,” (referring to Oregon Coaches) says Carter, also a counselor at Temple High. “After 30 minutes meeting with Coach Kelly, I knew it’s where he [Seastrunk] needed to be.”

And this is a potential bomb. Could it be that Willie Lyles has deluded himself into being more integral in Lache's life than he really was? Could it be that Willie Lyles was just another coach from a summer camp? A guy that worked for a recruiting service and just gave some information regarding Lache Seastrunk to coaches around the country? Could it be that Willie had delusions of grandeur? According to one Houston area coach, Willie Amendola, “He [2012 Running Back Trey Williams] wasn’t quite sure who Mr. Will was and what his angle was,” Amendola told FOXSports.com last month. “I guess he kind of plays himself off as being a trainer of some kind. I don’t know how far that went.”

The mentor angle is one I have more follow up to perform.. Deanna Carter is the person who forwarded an email to Willie Lyles and Josh Gibson regarding the information they requested about Lache. She no longer works for Temple High school, but I have been able to find where she works. I have emailed her in hopes of gaining even more insight into the dynamics of Laches relationship with herself, Will Lyles, Evelyn Seastrunk and his high school coach (Bryce Monsen) who was also very supportive of Lache's decision to come to Oregon. If I get a response from her, I will absolutely make sure to dictate the conversation and post the information I receive!

In another interesting side-note, Willie Lyles told Yahoo (referring to Lache's mother Evelyn Seastrunk)
“I don’t think she had enough knowledge to understand that he could sign without her,” Lyles said. “She basically just kind of never knew, and she felt that Oregon cheated some kind of way because they got him to sign the letter of intent and she didn’t sign it.”

What he does here is paint the mother as angry about Lache going to Oregon and confused that he could sign the letter of intent without her approving the choice.

If this is true, why then, was she pictured flashing the “O” at a press conference held at Lache's High School when he announced his decision?! OOPS!

Here is the photo:


                                                                                                          
      Mitch Green/Telegram


That sure does not look like someone confused or upset by Lache's choice of schools does it? And, just so it is clear, his announcement came at his school PRIOR to Letter of Intent Day. He committed on January 27, this picture appeared in a Rivals article dated January 30, 2010; three days after his commitment and 4 days BEFORE he signed his letter of intent. Looks to me like mom made it on board with Lache before he actually faxed in his Letter of Intent!

38 comments:

  1. I think that you did some great research here, instead of purely speculating! You really should think about submitting this to ODE, the Register-Guard, the news stations around here where the sports journalists seem to be flagrantly failing at their job, and even the appropriate NCAA individuals. If you hear back from those individuals, that would be awesome! Thanks for posting this :D

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  2. GEE,see what it does for a report when the writer actualy does research first,comes out with something mos moron sports writers dont do is use facts,not "THE SPIN"!! What a much differeant story then what has been reported by the IDIOTS IN THE PRESS,CRAZYONO,THE RIGESTER RAG,for the last 6 mos."O"

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  3. Damn... I've never read your work before, but this is some damn fine investigative journalism. Some of the "pros" over at the Oregonian could learn a lesson from your article.

    You sir, deserve a go ducks.

    Quack

    Lord Beverage & Muchas G

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  4. i agree with the others have said--and not just because i'm a duck. you've done quite a bit of research on all your posts, Good on you!, and Go Ducks! and you're describing many of the elements that every media outlet seems to not care about.

    thanks! and another Go Ducks! to you.
    hoover

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  5. Wow, look what we get when a writer puts in hard work and research. No surprise. Unlike Yahoo!, The O and R-G, there aren't dozens of impression-based ads that need a good spin so they'll pay off.

    Nice work.

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  6. Submit to the Daily Emerald. They will publish it.

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  7. Great article! Another angle you might research & document is how the media (Canzano, Yahoo, RG, etc) initially portrayed Lyles as a very dubious & untrustworthy character when all this broke, while he was "on Oregon's side", but as soon as he started admitting to both his & Oregon's alleged wrongdoing he's suddenly become very sincere and believable! I know Canzano has done a complete "180" in his regard of Lyles.

    Anyhow, great work!

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  8. To all the previous commenter's and readers of this particular article, thank you very much for your support. I know that there has been a little bit of interest in this and I am trying to force that interest to go up... there was a Re-tweet of this by Ted Miller of ESPN

    Earlier today I received a thank you note from a former Duck and it inspired me to get in touch with as many former Duck football players as I could... a grass roots effort to get the other side of this story some exposure now...

    So, spread the news... talk to everyone, share the link with everyone you know... get this out there...

    Thanks again all! I have more thoughts to share, but I thin THIS entry has so much validity that I do not want to water it down for now...

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  9. awesome work! Try sending this to Ted Miller Pac-12 espn blogger

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  10. Ted Miller has seen this... he retweeted it this morning...

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  11. This whole belief that Oregon may have “paid for Lache Seastrunk” begins and ends with Lache’s relationship with Lyles. If Lyles regularly counseled Lache about where to go to school and, because he was getting paid by Oregon, decided to start favoring Oregon in those conversations, one could argue that Lyles was paid to recruit Lache to Oregon.

    However, if we discover that Lyles relationship with Lache was “strictly professional” then it paints a different picture; one completely allowable within NCAA Guidelines. If Lyles did not counsel Lache about his destination, but instead his destination was being counseled by Deanna Carter, then all of this is much ado about nothing.

    Lache never calls Lyles his mentor. The only quote he has made about Lyles is: “It’s nothing dealing with me,” Seastrunk said. “I’m not worried about it. I know God is going to block it all from me and keep me focused on what I need to be focused on, which is school and football.” That does not tell us much about the relationship.

    The information presented in the Yahoo article is now accepted as fact. We are led to believe that Lyles knows so much because he was Lache’s “mentor.” There is some other information I could not corroborate before posting that article, such as, Lache Seastrunk visited Oregon during the summer of 2009 unofficially, and it was Deanna Carter that supposedly drove him here. The way I understand it, they stayed in Boise on their way up here.

    Deanna Carter appears to have been MUCH more influential in Lache’s life. The whole story falls apart if Lyles is found to not be a big influence on Seastrunk. If it is discovered that he was just a “scout” “trainer” and “7on7” coach and that he really didn’t counsel Lache very much, then there is no story. His tales of “power broker” are just that; tales.

    The other point is that there is a lot of information out there that paints a completely different picture.

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  12. Now, as for Lyles being a good or bad guy, I do not know him so I cannot say one way or the other. LaMichael James swears the guy is a great guy. However, in a quote from and MSN article James James said he knows Lyles only “on a professional level,” but said he still talked to him. He also said he does not know exactly what his job is, just that “he gets kids scholarships.”

    The thing is, he didn’t get Lache a scholarship. Lache was known in the world of recruiting before Lyles met him. Lache was going to go to college somewhere; with or without Lyles. When LaMichael was being recruited, Lyles role was simple, Pat Brady, his high school coach knew he needed to get James’ film to coaches around the country, so he put together the film and sent it to several recruiting services, including Scout, Rivals and Elite amongst others. That was Pat Brady using the few contacts he had to find a distribution for James’ video. Lyles worked at one of those companies at the time.

    As for LaMichael James’ high school transfer, just as with Lache’s choice of Oregon (which Carter admitted she pushed for) Lyles assertions of sole responsibility seem somewhat disingenuous considering James’ high school coach recognized the problem and encouraged the move as well.

    From an article on Fox Sports in October 2010, James’ High School Coach had this to say: “He just never could pass that test,” Brady says. “That was the best thing for him. He didn’t need to be sitting around Texarkana waiting to go off to college. He needed to go as soon as he could that summer and get out of Texarkana.”

    So, while Lyles takes all the credit for James’ transfer and Lache’s getting his grandmother to sign, reality shows us that the people who should have been involved in those decisions were. It was Deanna Carter, Lache’s Counselor and mentor, that gathered Lache’s information and forwarded it; it was Pat Brady, LaMichael’s High School coach that understood LaMichael needed to transfer.

    Lyles attempts to take all the credit for these actions. Why? Because that makes him “more influential” and makes Oregon’s dealings with him look more shady than they might have been. If it was Deanna Carter that got Lache’s grandmother to sign his LOI, and Pat Brady that got LaMichael to transfer, then Willie Lyles’ influence was negligible and irrelevant. If it were the Counselor and the Coach that were working to get their kids to go to Oregon, then that virtually eliminates Lyles role as a “booster” or “agent.” Then it relegates him back to Recruiting Service. And from outward appearances, he was not great at running his own service.

    Then all we are left with is a fairly simple question, did Willie steer anyone to Oregon? If the answer to that is no, this case is closed and we are left with exactly what I think will happen; improper documentation and a slap on the wrist. But Oregon will then be pivotal in changing the rules and making this a much less gray area of recruiting.

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  13. I just have to say that this is really pathetic. You are obviously very biased towards Oregon..., yet this is the best investigative journalism I've seen on this matter so far. Perhaps it's the bourbon or my yellow and green glasses but this seems more substantial than an on the record payment to a recruiting service(uncovered by a public records request *yawn*) and an interview with a sinking ship(forget the rat metaphor willie IS the sinking ship).

    I haven't been too concerned about this but I was starting to think that we had gone into some grey areas with recruiting rules but after Chip's latest comments I'm thinking it it was more of an off white area unless Chip has gone "all in".

    Rules will change, several schools might get their hands slapped, and the media will find the next controversy for them to sensationalize.

    PS: I've really enjoyed your posts over on Rob's blog.

    Go Ducks!

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  14. Very good article. Well written and it shows you have taken the time to look into things.

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  15. The picture at the end speaks volumes. Very well done! I look forward to reading your work in the future!

    www.DuckingBeaver.com

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  16. Why do you people keep ignoring that Lyles was Seastrunk's mother's live-in boyfriend while Oregon was recruiting him? You all just keep trying to portray him as some kind of wannabe outsider but it's just not the case, no matter how hard you try to protest.

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  17. Good story. But two questions remain:
    1)What about Lyles claim that he lived in Seastrunk's home to serve as a mentor to Lache?,
    and more importantly, 2)If Lyles wasn't the influence that he claims he was, why on earth did Oregon pay him $25,000?

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  18. thetruth,

    There is still ambiguity regarding where Lache himself lived. The facts I presented are facts, not speculation. Second, no one knows the relationship between Lyles and Evelyn because Evelyn seems to indicate she is angry that Lyles was paid and makes no mention of living together. According to property records, Lyles has lived at the same condo in Houston for several years.

    The only mention of Seastrunk's mother and Lyles living together comes from Lyles' High Schol COach with this snippet: "Lyles became involved with Seastrunk the summer before his junior year and at times stayed with him and his mother at their house, according to Seastrunk’s coach at Temple High School, Bryce Monsen." That does not say that he was her "live in boyfriend." We don't know the full truth about that... from what I have been told that was more a matter of convenience when Lyles was in town. He wasn't "living with" anyone, but needed a place to stay when he was in town.

    Further, it would actually be good for Oregon if that were the case because then his relationship with Lache is 100% protected.

    None of that changes the fact that Lyles is never referred to by Lache in any article. Nor his he ever called Lache's "mentor." The only person who has ever been given that designation is Deanna Carter.

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  19. KillerBee,

    I think I answered your 1st question in my previous response, so I will answer your second one here.

    Lost in all the shuffle is that Willie Lyles worked for several recruiting services prior to attempting to make it on his own. One of those services he worked for was Elite Scouting Services, another was Scout.com. He had worked with over 80 different schools at that time. The list of kids he worked with (according t him) was incredibly long, and includes Trovon Reed, Trevon Randle, Patrick Peterson and many, many others.

    A $25,000 payment was to a man who had worked at recruiting services for several years, had developed a reputation as a good scout and attempted to go out on his own. I have compared him to a mechanic, though. He was really good when someone else provided the infrastructure of the business, but we all see that his business was not that good on his own. His materials looked second rate (including the materials he sent LSU and Cal). His inability to deliver what he promised became quickly apparent.

    We can debate the amount of the payment all day long. If a scout provides a true "national package" it is worth $25,000...and there ARE recruiting services that charge that much (including a company called DSV).

    When you pay a recruiting service, as every college in America does, to provide information, based on Bylaw 13.14, you are required to get more than demographic data... When LaMichael James was a senior, his only offers were from schools around Texas... but not any "big boy" offers. His High School Coach forwarded James' video to several recruiting services... Oregon at the time, had no idea who Lamichael James was... until Willie Lyles gave them some video and a spot on analysis of how and why Lamichael James was the perfect fit for the Oregon offense.

    His track record of judging talent and where it would best fit is what Oregon coaches paid for... unfortunately, his abilities ad an evaluator did not translate into abilities as a businessman.

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  20. Great work!! I followed this story from the time Lache was first listed the number two recruit in the country by the Sporting News. You have found background that I didn't have but Lache's explanation for choosing Oregon was the same when he signed as what was covered in the Emerald recently. Will Lyles may have changed his story but Lache stuck to his. Personally I feel sorry for Lache who has had enough disruption in his life. Cannot wait to see him on the field for the Ducks. I will be watching practices. Thanks so much!!

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  21. I'm sorry, but when I see reasoning like this:

    "Lyles became involved with Seastrunk the summer before his junior year and at times stayed with him and his mother at their house, according to Seastrunk’s coach at Temple High School, Bryce Monsen." That does not say that he was her "live in boyfriend." We don't know the full truth about that... from what I have been told that was more a matter of convenience when Lyles was in town. He wasn't "living with" anyone, but needed a place to stay when he was in town.

    Further, it would actually be good for Oregon if that were the case because then his relationship with Lache is 100% protected."

    I see someone who doesn't want to know the truth.

    Lyles was involved with Seastrunk's mom for a long time and was more than just an occasional guest at her house. The NCAA knows this already and to argue otherwise will be shown to be futile when everything's public record. It's very easy to prove for the NCAA, much easier than most of the things they investigate.

    And to think that this would make the Lyles' relationship with Seastrunk "protected" is the height of insanity. Paying the live-in boyfriend of a recruit's mom $25k for ANYTHING is the complete opposite of "protected." It's a landmine violation waiting to happen.

    First USC then this is very bad for the Pac 10. While the cheat-for-a-living SEC goes on manipulating the system (until auburn eventually gets blown up in the next two years), the Pac 10 will be villified for years as cheaters.

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  22. thetruth, Are you Lyles? If so, you should have returned my email.

    You seem unable to separate the difference between the relationship aspect and the business aspect. let me explain it more.

    The main issue in mainstream press regarding Lyles' relationship is that people are questioning whether he had a "pre-existing relationship" because, if he did not, then, pundits argue, he could be labeled as a booster which could constitute a major violation if it were found that he steered a player to a school. If, however, he DID live permanently as a live-in boyfriend, then NCAA rules permit him to steer the child with whom he lives anywhere he deems fit.

    This is separate from the payment for recruiting services. Because more than one school purchased his services, and because Lyles had worked in the industry for many years, the NCAA will, very likely, determine that, though his service did not live up to what he billed, schools certainly had reason to believe that his was a legitimate recruiting service.

    I am not sure if you are aware of this, but there is precedent for a legitimate business having a financial arrangement with an institution that recruits the child of the owner of that business. If not, I direct you to Taylor Marinez and his father, who owns an apparel company and has a contract with the same University that Taylor attended, Nebraska.

    The two concpets are, and will remain, two separate parts of the equation. Again, what you say the NCAA knows is no different than all teh jack-wagon reporters who say they "just know" with only the word of someone whose story has changed multiple times.

    Here are the basic facts we know

    1. Will Lyles had a registered Recruiting Service
    2. Lache Seastrunk says he was not steered anywhere, by anyone.
    3. Will Lyles and Lache Seastrunk had some relationship, but Lyles was never referred to as a "mentor" by anyone other than Lyles.

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  23. (From ESPN Article regarding the Martinez deal)

    NCAA rules allow parents of a prospective or current student-athlete to enter a business relationship with a school if no special arrangements are made and the business is legitimate, [NCAA Spokesperson Erik] Christianson wrote in an e-mail to the AP.

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  24. No, I'm not Lyles and your reasoning will be shown to be incorrect. You may feel that Martinez' relationship is apples to apples with Seastrunk's situation but it's not.

    I've said my piece. If Oregon is cleared in this matter and the other areas the NCAA is investigating, I'll be back here saying I was wrong.

    Will you do the same or claim it was an NCAA vendetta that sunk the program?

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  25. thetruth wrote: "Lyles was involved with Seastrunk's mom for a long time and was more than just an occasional guest at her house. ...everything's public record."

    I would just note that Lyles addressed this in his radio interview with conzano, here: http://www.oregonlive.com/sports/oregonian/john_canzano/index.ssf/2011/07/willie_lyles_talks_publicly_ab.html

    Part 2, beginning at 14:03. He claims he spent two nights at Lache's house after watching football on tv. He refutes any romantic involvement with Lache's mom.

    thetruth, this is the only public record I personally know of on the issue. Would you please point me to the information you speak of? Thanks.

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  26. No where in my piece have you seen me insinuate anything negative... I merely state facts that are publicly available. I too have some sources that have led me to believe that Deanna Carter drive Lache to Oregon... but that information could not be corroborated. There are only a few people who have any idea what was told to the NCAA... and, if you are not Lyles, I am certain you are not Chhip Kelly... so the only other people that would know about Lache's living arrangements are: Lache (you aren't him), Evelyn Seastrunk, Deanna Carter and Bryce Monsen (Lache's high school coach).

    If you are not one of those people, there is no way you can know what was said to the NCAA regarding their living situation. As for whether I will be back... I have used my real identity here... my name is staked to this

    No matter what happens, it is entirely doubtful that the program is sunk regarding this matter. Most people who argue Oregon's guilt still concede that the most likely scenario is a range of secondary violations that get them a punishment similar to LSU's most recent sanctions.

    My reasoning is based on NCAA bylaws and publicly available information as well as some conversations with personnel within the athletic department, parents and athletes. Obviously due to the nature of this story, I am not at liberty to say which parents I have discussed this with, but suffice it to say, the parents I talked to know this situation from the inside.

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  27. aminoac,

    Thank you for that link... I do not listen to Canzano and had not heard that interview...

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  28. Yeah, I couldn't help but listen to that show. Even though my ears were bleeding by the end.

    Good luck in your research. Very interesting stuff!!

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  29. The truth is a lurker troll that knows nothing besides his own beliefs. Prob a beevur....but who would be shocked about that.


    Ha ha. Shocked...get it...

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  30. Scott, we would like to speak with you more about this article, maybe even get an interview. Sports Radio 750 The Game in Portland, home of the Ducks. Please contact me peter.socotch@750thegame.com

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  31. Love the clown suit you put on thetruth!

    Nice work on this Scott, it's refreshing to see some actual fact

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  32. I know I'm about the thousandth person to say this, but GREAT JOB with the research and investigating on this. I'm biased, like a lot of the other commenters, because I went to Oregon and will bleed green to the day I die, but you have done a FANTASTIC job getting details out there that must be read. I'm sharing this on Facebook and will continue to do so with all of your great posts!

    From one Duck fan to another -- THANK YOU!!!

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  33. Thank you for the great article mr reed. While I doubt thetruth is a beaver trying to screw the ducks, or Lyles trying to defend himself, regardless, i see well thought out journalism on your part, and a distict lack of facts backing up thetruths argument. Keep up the good work, and I hope your right. Go ducks.

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  34. My pleasure on writing this. I know now who "thetruth" is and he is neither a Beaver nor Will Lyles. I am not going to divulge his name here because I will not give him the satisfaction. If he attempts to identify himself, I will simply delete that post.

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  35. Amy, thank you for the kind words. It has been a little bit of an unexpected whirlwind. This was originally done at the request of a few people on Rob Moseley's blog... I never expected it to be anything more than a simple little place where a few people read my thoughts.

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  36. The only reason I can see this story not getting the press it deserves is because you aced the reporters on the very fact checking job they should have done before giving Lyles the microphone. They'll have to air your report with a side of humble pie.

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  37. While publicly scoffing at my articles, mainstream local media [read: The Oregonian] has been DESPERATELY attempting to get hold of the principles...

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