Former LSU star cornerback Patrick Peterson on Thursday denied a relationship with embattled recruiting service owner Willie Lyles and expressed resentment that his name came up in pay-for-play allegations made by a former Texas A&M assistant coach.
"I have never had any type of relationship with Willie Lyles and he had no influence on my decision to attend LSU, or any other school for that matter," Peterson said in a statement released by LSU. "He had no involvement with my recruiting process and I resent the fact that my name has come up in these allegations."
In a report by ESPN.com, former Texas A&M cornerbacks coach Van Malone said he was told by Lyles that the school would have to "beat" an $80,000 payment other schools were offering if they wanted Peterson to play for the Aggies.
Malone, now the recruiting coordinator and defensive secondary coach at Tulsa, said he was contacted by Lyles after Peterson visited Texas A&M in 2007. Malone said he never told then-Texas A&M coach Dennis Franchione about Lyles' request, but told Lyles A&M doesn't pay for football players. He said he later told Peterson that Lyles was trying to sell his services.
Tulsa is in the midst of spring practice this week and Malone did not immediately return a phone message left at his office Thursday.
Peterson, who is expected to be a high first-round draft choice in this month's NFL draft, played for LSU from 2008-10. This past season he received Jim Thorpe Award, given to the best defensive back in college football.
"I chose LSU because it's a great school with a great football program," Peterson said. "I never received nor was I offered anything to go to LSU and anyone saying otherwise is being dishonest."
Lyles runs Texas-based Complete Scouting Services. The NCAA is looking into Oregon's $25,000 payment to Lyles' firm and his involvement in the recruitment of running back Lache Seastrunk, of Temple, Texas.
Oregon has confirmed it paid for Lyles' scouting service for videos of prospective student-athletes, which is allowed under NCAA rules. LSU also has acknowledged that Lyles' service was among many that LSU has subscribed to as permitted by the NCAA.
LSU spokesman Michael Bonnette said the services include videos and statistical information on high school standouts and LSU has not banned the use of those specific services from Complete Scouting at this time.
As for Peterson's dealings with Lyles, Bonnette said the university stands by Peterson's comments.