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College Sports, Education

NCAA Investigation of Oregon: A Compliance Refresher on Scouting Services

The Oregonian reported the University of Oregon released documents on June 20, 2011, relating to the NCAA enforcement investigation of alleged
rules-violations involving football scouting services. The release, which was a
part of public records requests by various media organizations, provided information concerning the Oregon football program’s dealings with Willie J. Lyles, a football scouting services provider. The documents released by Oregon provided the following facts:

1. February 22, 2010: Lyles invoiced the school for the “2011 National Package”, which was described as containing game and highlight film on prospective football student-athletes from numerous states.

2. March 2010: Oregon received from Lyles, according to The Oregonian, “the national package” which “includes a lengthy ‘2011 National High School Evaluation Booklet’ that details high school prospects from five states, but the vast majority of players were from Texas. Forty of the 140 profiled are from
Houston. Of the five from outside Texas, two were from South Carolina, and one
each from California, Oklahoma and Louisiana. One recruit’s bio page was
redacted for privacy reasons, presumably a recruit who wound up at Oregon.”

3. March 29, 2010: Oregon issued a purchase order for $25,000 to “Willie J. Lyles dba Complete Scouting Service” for the “2011 National Package – Game films, Highlight film High School & Jr. Colleges”.

4. March 30, 2010: Lyles “dba Complete Scouting Service” received a $25,000 check from Oregon for the scouting services received by the institution. The Oregonian reported the check was received “just weeks after UO signed two Texas high school players whom Lyles advised”.

The Michael L. Buckner Law Firm recommends institutions review the media reports concerning the NCAA investigation of the Oregon football program and consider preparing an athletics policy concerning the purchase or subscription to a recruiting or scouting service involving prospective student-athletes. Specifically, the policy must require athletics coaches or staff to demonstrate, and the compliance office to confirm, the following elements:

1. The institution does not purchase more than one annual subscription to the service.

2. The service is made available to all institutions desiring to subscribe and at the
same fee rate for all subscribers.

3. The service publicly identifies all applicable rates.

4. The service disseminates information (e.g., reports, profiles) about prospective student-athletes at least four times per calendar year.

5. The service publicly identifies the geographical scope of the service (e.g., local,
regional, national) and reflects broad-based coverage of the geographical area
in the information it disseminates.

6. The service provides individual analysis beyond demographic information or rankings for each prospective student-athlete in the information it disseminates.

7. The service provides access to samples or previews of the information it
disseminates prior to purchase of a subscription.

8. The service provides video that is restricted to regularly scheduled (regular
season) high school, preparatory school or two-year college contests and for
which the institution made no prior arrangements for recording. [Note: Applicable only if the subscription includes video services.]

[Source: May 4, 2010, NCAA Educational Column.]

Please contact Michael L. Buckner (954-941-1844; mbuckner@michaelbucknerlaw.com) for more rules-compliance strategies concerning recruiting or scouting services.

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About Michael L. Buckner, Esquire

An attorney who provides clients with internal investigation, civil litigation, estate planning and compliance services.

Discussion

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