We're leading off this week's mailbag with a question on the drama surrounding the Oregon Ducks football program and recruiting services allegations:
From Paul in Oakland: As a Ducks fan, how worried should I be about this recruiting services story?
If you're an Oregon fan, you should be very nervous. And if you're a fan of a lot of big programs, you probably shouldn't be too giddy about the Ducks' predicament, as I'll explain in a moment.
On Thursday night, ESPN reported that the NCAA is examining whether a Texas man helped steer recruits to Oregon. Ducks officials admitted in a statement that they had paid the man $25,000 in the spring of 2010 for recruiting services. The man is a former Texas-based trainer named Willie Lyles, and the recruit in question was former blue-chip prospect Lache Seastrunk, a redshirt freshman running back from Temple, Texas.
Keep in mind that the NCAA has been determined to slow down or stop the the AAU-ization of college football via street agents, runners and dubious middle men that have popped up at a staggering rate in the past few years through the proliferation of the offseason recruiting business and 7-on-7 world.
Coach Chip Kelly and Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens said they are confident that Oregon's actions are nothing that should seem out of order. "Our compliance office signed off on it," Mullens told the Oregonian.
The NCAA is going to have some more questions about this, starting with an examination of Lyles' business. How many other schools were buying his service? What information -- recruiting film databases and recruiting updates -- was he providing for that really high fee?
To read more about why Oregon fans should be worried about the NCAA's investigation, as well as read Bruce's answers on Auburn's chances at an SEC repeat, Geno Smith's Heisman candidacy, and whether Texas can turn things around, become an ESPN Insider today.