Bryan Fischer of CBSSports.com has an interesting story online today, covering his interview with Baron Flenory, one of the two central figures in a Yahoo! Sports story on the Oregon Ducks and potential NCAA rules violations.
In remarks to Fischer, Flenory says he feels “targeted,” lashes out an the rampant speculation and conclusion-jumping and defends himself on the recruitment and eventual signing of his younger brother with Oregon’s 2011 recruiting class.
"I feel targeted," Flenory said at his company-run Badger Sports 7-on-7 tournament. "I don't mind that as much. What I do mind is the assassination of character and the broad-painted pictures without facts. Most of it's speculation. Fact: We did get paid by the University of Oregon for selling them a recruiting service. However, the recruiting service was discontinued because the NCAA didn't allow us."
"Before we were selling it, college coaches were calling and saying, 'Hey what do you think about this guy?' We had no problem giving it to them for free," he added. "After awhile, you continue to grow and you have all of the kids on a weekly basis, you can't take all of those calls. So what you do is put it in a package and sell it. There's nothing dirty about it."
"There's also a lot of speculation about my little brother Anthony Wallace," Flenory said. "I'll never comment on that because that's a relationship me and him have. I love Anthony, that's my little brother. I'm allowed to have that. It's OK for me to be that. If I worked at McDonald's and I was a mentor, nobody would have anything to say about it. But because I don't work at McDonald's and own the largest 7-on-7 that people are scared of, they have a lot to say.
"Where I come from mentors are needed. Not everybody needs them, but there's some that do. There was a time when my hard-working parents couldn't keep me in line and a big homie said, 'yo, chill out.' That's needed.
Go read the whole story. Flenory has several other interesting comments.
I may be going out on a limb here, but based on Flenory’s comments in other media, and based on his frank and wide ranging statements to Fischer, I really think this guy is above board. His 7-on-7 program is arguably the largest and most widely followed, and while there are certain to be some shady characters associated with 7-on-7 clubs—I don’t think Flenory is one of them.
His story makes sense and passes the smell test. His 7-on-7 business was growing rapidly and the volume of calls from interested coaches grew too large to handle. He saw a business opportunity and took it, while staying within NCAA rules. When the NCAA changed the rules, Flenory dropped the recruiting services arm of his enterprise and focused on the core of his business.
It sounds like a typical small business executive making decisions based on the market and institutional environment he worked in. As long as he played by the rules—at the time the rules were in place—I don’t see where there’s any shady dealings here. It’s business.
Exit question: Who was Flenory referring to when he said, “I can't live with you for four years. And your $250,000, if that's the going rate, ain't going to last me 40 years and it ain't worth my life." Fischer has an idea.