ESPN.com reported on March 7, 2011, that the University of Oregon was contacted by the NCAA enforcement staff “to provide documentation about its use of a pair of recruiting services”. The request arrived after Oregon indicated it paid Willie Lyles $25,000 in the spring of 2010 for recruiting services. According to “sources close to the inquiry”, ESPN.com claimed “NCAA officials will take a closer look at Oregon’s recruitment of running back Lache Seastrunk, a redshirt freshman from Temple, Texas, who was one of the country’s most highly recruited prospects in 2010”, including “what role Texas-based trainer Willie Lyles played in Seastrunk’s decision to attend Oregon”.
But what are recruiting services? Well, the NCAA academics and membership affairs staff provided more clarity with the issuance of a staff interpretation on April 1, 2011. Specifically, the staff interpreted NCAA Division I Bylaws 188.8.131.52 (recruiting service consultants), 184.108.40.206 (off-campus observation of recruiting or scouting service video), 220.127.116.11.1 (camp/clinic providing recruiting or scouting service), 13.14.3 (recruiting or scouting services) to define a “recruiting or scouting service”:
“The academic and membership affairs staff confirmed that a recruiting or scouting service includes any individual, organization, entity or segment of an entity that is primarily involved in providing information about prospective student-athletes. This definition includes, but is not limited to any service that provides information only to paid subscribers, any service that is only available to a select group of individuals (e.g., coaches), regardless of whether there is a charge associated with the service, and any service that provides information to the public free of charge; however, this definition does not include any individual, organization or entity or segment of an entity that provides information about prospective student-athletes incidental to its primary purpose and is generally available to the public (e.g. news media).”
The staff also issued identical interpretations for Divisions II and III.