Rabalais: Don’t laugh too hard at the Ducks

Notes on a golf scorecard while I light my grill for ye olde Independence Day barbecue cookout and try not to set any of my clothing on fire …

… The long-smoldering Will Lyles/Oregon story has become a fire now that Lyles has told Yahoo! Sports that Oregon paid him $25,000 not for legitimate recruiting services but for influence in landing football players like LaMichael James and Lache Seastrunk.

LSU fans may delight in seeing the Ducks squirm under the harsh spotlight Oregon’s relationship with Lyles has wrought, especially since the Tigers and Ducks clash on Sept. 3. Speculation has run rampant about what collateral damage this story may end up costing the Ducks’ program and Oregon coach Chip Kelly.

But enjoying a chuckle at Oregon’s expense may be whistling past a graveyard. LSU also paid Lyles $6,000 for recruiting services. While this is not to imply that LSU is guilty of any wrongdoing along the lines of what happened at Oregon, at the very least Lyles is one of the last people whose name you want associated with your program.

The Lyles story adds up to one huge distraction for Oregon going into the LSU showdown, mushrooming past the distraction of suspending All-American cornerback Cliff Harris earlier this spring.

If there’s any advice for Kelly, it’s this: If you did something wrong, don’t try to spin a Richard Nixon/Jim Tressel-like coverup. Come clean, take whatever punishment comes your way and hope you can survive.

It’ll be mighty interesting to see where this story is two months from now.

… If I have to hear one more self-congratulatory comment from someone on ESPN or ESPN Radio or on ESPN.com I’m going to lose my lunch. Yes, we all know you’re the worldwide leader in sports — do we constantly have to be reminded of it?

… The other day I heard a local radio talk show host say he was kicking back for the Fourth of July and that his show would be replaced by Major League Baseball.

That’s nice, but why can’t one of the local radio stations broadcast an entire season like they used to? Long gone are the days when you could tune in your receiver to hear Milo Hamilton call the Houston Astros on local radio.

I don’t know the ins and outs and financial wherefores of why major league baseball isn’t on local radio anymore, and frankly I don’t care. And, yes, you can hunt around online or on satellite radio and find them (for a price). But I’m talking about the joy of burgers sizzling on the grill, a beer in your hand and Major League Baseball on a portable radio — or having the par-boiled torture of cutting the yard on a 95-degree day eased by a game from Houston or Chicago or San Francisco streaming through your earphones.

You can listen to the Astros in New Orleans or Lake Charles, the Texas Rangers in Shreveport or Minden, the Atlanta Braves in Hattiesburg. Sure would be nice if Baton Rouge was in the loop, too.