Former Tennessee assistant Willie Mack Garza paid for a top recruit and his mother to fly to Knoxville for an unofficial recruiting trip during Lane Kiffin’s tenure at the school, Yahoo! Sports reported Monday night.
Lyles told NCAA investigators about the transaction in August, according to the website. He said NCAA investigators were examining Tennessee’s recruiting practices.
“We are aware of the situation as is the conference office,” Tennessee spokesman Jimmy Stanton told the website. “We’ve been verbally contacted by the NCAA enforcement staff regarding a recruiting issue in 2009 related to the former coaching staff and a student-athlete who never attended Tennessee.
“We believe, as does the conference office, that this matter is not subject to the repeat offender provision.”
The 5-foot-9, 190-pound Seastrunk signed with Oregon out of high school and was redshirted. He transferred to Baylor in August.
“Whatever undercover dirty stuff that they’re doing, I’m pretty sure that Willie Lyles is not the only person. He’s just the only one that’s been caught. This is something that they’ve been doing forever.”
“I wanted to make sure Lache would be fine, this isn’t about him,” Lyles said. “It’s the NCAA’s rules and the schools not following them. During our meeting it became clear the NCAA already had knowledge of what was going on at Tennessee.”
Tennessee just faced the NCAA Committee on Infractions following a two-year investigation into recruiting by former men’s basketball coach Bruce Pearl and the football program under then-coach Kiffin. It chose not to punish the university beyond its self-imposed sanctions, which included two years of probation.
The NCAA also concluded in August there wasn’t enough evidence to prove 12 recruiting violations committed by Kiffin and his staff were any more than secondary violations. Those charges included 16 improper recruiting phone calls and impermissible contact between football staff interns and recruits.