- Associated Press - Friday, March 4, 2011

EUGENE, ORE. (AP) - School officials have confirmed that Oregon paid about $28,000 to a pair of recruiting services, but claim the payments and services were within NCAA rules.

Yahoo! Sports reported Friday that Oregon paid $25,000 to Will Lyles of Complete Scouting Services in Houston. Lyles has a mentoring relationship with Ducks running back Lache Seastrunk and is also tied to running back LaMichael James, a Heisman trophy finalist.

ESPN.com, citing unidentified sources, reported the NCAA is probing Seastrunk’s recruitment. Both Seastrunk and James are from Texas.

The Yahoo report also said that Oregon paid $3,745 to Baron Flenory of New Level Athletics. Flenory told Yahoo he also ran a recruiting service that provided Oregon with information about potential recruits, but the company no longer operates because of a change in NCAA rules.

The Oregon athletic department issued a statement Thursday night that said: “This is something we remain confident that is within the acceptable guidelines allowed by the NCAA and occurred with the knowledge of the department’s compliance office.”

If either men guided a recruit to Oregon, it would violate NCAA rules. The NCAA will not comment on ongoing investigations.

The Ducks went 12-1 this past season, falling to Auburn in the BCS title game. They were ranked No. 3 in the final Top 25. James led the nation in rushing with 1,731 yards.

Rumors had been swirling for the past week that Oregon was facing a possible investigation into recruiting violations.

“We have previously stated that we have not been in contact with anyone from the NCAA or Pacific-10 Conference in regards to these practices and that situation remains unchanged,” Oregon’s statement said.

Attempts to reach Flenory and Lyles by telephone on Thursday night were unsuccessful.