Edit at the end - Paragon...
I have said before that I am not into conspiracy theories.
I don't have time to try and figure some things out, but when something stands out like a sore thumb you have to take notice and make your opinion known.
I pretty much ignored the LaMichael James Range Rover thing that popped up on the grid a while back.
I guess you could say that with all the other issues that have been reported (UNC, Cam etc.) I just wasn't interested in following another scandal, but then this article came up the other day.
It's why I cringed when I heard that Brown loaned James an $18,000 Land Rover, even as Brown claims he doesn't have enough money to buy a pair of blue jeans. And why I shook my head when I heard that James adopted a pit bull and keeps it at Brown's residence in Portland during the college football season.
And it's why I wondered why James would take the risk of associating with Brown as a source familiar with the NCAA investigation explained that the questions from the NCAA weren't limited to that Land Rover car swap, but also about $9,000 that was sitting in James' bank account.
"It's my understanding that the money is said to come from an inheritance after his grandmother's death, but there is no paper trail," the source said. "If it was an inheritance, it wasn't handled correctly."
Let me make one thing VERY clear...I am not bagging on LaMichael James. While he has had some brushes with the law, it is also clear that he has overcome much in his short life.
I just see some other issues with this situation...or parallel's in my eyes.
If you remember, one of the glaring issues with the NCAA's punishment of USC was their claim that because Reggie Bush didn't provide any receipts that would clear him, they explicitly mentioned that Reggie Bush's inability or unwillingness to produce receipts was proof of his guilt.
Never mind the fact that Lloyd Lake, his sister, mother, or brother-in-law could not produce one receipt, bank statement, or canceled check to support their allegations. Matter of fact, Lake's sister claims she gave him $5000 for Reggie's car, and Lloyd claimed she gave him $13,000. That major discrepancy didn't seem to matter to the NCAA, though. Based on the Lake clan testimony they basically said Reggie was guilty as charged.
Lake's sister claimed she just happened to have' $5000 in loose cash around the house, which was the reason why she couldn't produce a bank statement to show any withdrawal made in that amount.
I guess the Lake clan just lived in the lap of luxury and had wads of cash just laying around...
Now, I know Oregon fans have a general loathing for Canzano, he has pissed them off in the past but he does make some interesting points with regards to LaMichael James' "uncle".
-- NCAA bylaws are pretty clear. In order for a pre-existing relationship to exist, LMJ needed to have met this "uncle" before Oregon began recruiting him.
-- Just why does James' high school coach ask his "uncle" to watch out for him if Oregon hadn't been recruiting him?
-- Inheritances generally have to go through probate before distributions are disbursed. Probate, of course, provides a paper trail. At the very least, James should be able to provide either the probate papers or bank statements that showed this money was deposited in his account at or near the time of her death.
Oregon Head Coach Chip Kelly makes an interesting observation via text...
Kelly, via text message Thursday night, said of Brown, "I don't think he's a mentor, just a would-be friend."
Isn't that what some called Lloyd Lake of Reggie Bush?
Here is a more interesting question...
Remember Joe McKnight's Range Rover issue? We still haven't heard anything about that...Yet the NCAA cleared James and his "car issue" without question within the blink of an eye.
On the surface James' case is more troublesome...the car he got was from a mysterious "uncle". McKnight was suspended because he was driving his girlfriends car.
So why the apparent double standard?
I am not prepared to call James dirty, nor I am saying that Oregon is guilty of anything but the information that Canzano puts forth in this article should give one pause...especially when it comes to the apparent double standard that the NCAA is operating under.
The NCAA was very clear that USC "should have known"...should have known what has always been the big question. If USC should have known the financials of Bush's parents then should Oregon have known just where that money came from for the used Range Rover? (see edit below) Money that was supposedly "loaned" to James by an "uncle" who really isn't an "uncle" and who didn't know James until after Oregon recruited him. There is no wiggle room here in the NCAA's bylaws.
Is it also safe to say that James is a high profile player on a high profile team?
Is this selective enforcement of the rules or has the NCAA all of a sudden lost its thirst to enforce their rules when questionable scenarios arise?
The NCAA has really painted themselves into a corner here.
How do you explain that?
Even more interesting is that this news certainly provides an interesting scenario never before seen in collegiate sports. We currently have two teams preparing to play for the national championship, who's top players have an aura of receiving extra benefits that could possibly nullify all of their programs accomplishments this year.
Chew on that for a while...
EDIT - Paragon: I make a mistake that was pointed out by a friend that I need to correct.
The SUV and the $9000 are two separate issues.
James traded his 2000 Mustang with his uncle in exchange for a 2003 Range Rover. He claimed he was being stalked by someone who continued to leave notes on his window.
The blue book value of the Mustang is $5000, while the blue book value of the Range Rover is $17,500.
That's called an extra benefit, which is secondary in nature, but one that requires the student athlete to be declared ineligible and to seek reinstatement by the NCAA, pending a donation made to the charity of LMJ's choice for the difference in renting a 2000 Mustang and a 2003 Range Rover.
The $9000 is brand-new information when coupled with the previous discrepancies we are now learning about in regards to when this relationship began, and the subsequent arrest of Brown, serves as one more suspicious layer to this entire ordeal.
Brown has previous arrests for drug dealing, along with a wife and six children to support. It's highly unlikely to me that income earned as a gang intervention specialist could support a family of that size... even in Oregon.
Maybe Brown is scratching James' back right now with the intent, understanding, an agreement to be repaid when James hits the NFL...
Who knows at this point...that is all speculation.
But if you connect the dots........
More important to me is this. It is clear that the NCAA does not have the will or temerity to thoroughly investigate this entire story.
I am just not seeing it, but I hope I'm wrong.
They opened up a can of worms with USC and now all the cockroaches are being exposed. They little if now idea just how bad things are in the sport and the dropped the hammer and set a precedent that is already being questioned.
It is going to get interesting in the coming months.....