Unless the two were dating, former UNC defensive line coach John Blake’s telephone records indicate a potentially inappropriate relationship with player agent Gary Wichard that bodes poorly for the university’s NCAA investigation. The log on Blake’s university-paid cell phone shows the two exchanged 152 texts and phone calls during a 235-day period. The longest silence was four days. Most crucially, there were 61 communications in the 61 days leading up to Jan. 4, the date six draft-eligible Tar Heels decided to stay for their senior season.
Blake does have “a personal relationship” with Wichard. He had been an employee of Wichard’s company “Pro Tect Management” in between coaching stints. The NCAA has no rules against contact between coaches and agents, unless it involves payment. If it did, Blake could face prosecution under North Carolina’s Uniform Athlete Agent Act. Wichard is the agent for 13 NFL players coached by Blake in college.
The questions for North Carolina are whether Blake (and the program) knew about a possibly improper trip Marvin Austin and Cam Thomas made before the 2009 season (Wichard did) and whether the school acted appropriately to ensure Blake’s previous relationship with Wichard would not be an issue. Culpability could lead to UNC vacating the 2009 season and facing further sanctions.
Blake’s phone calls could also be a mere iceburg tip into a broader scandal. Blake is known as “a fixer,” hired by schools to boost their recruiting. He brought in a big class for Nebraska in 2005. He recruited a large part of Bob Stoops’ national title team at Oklahoma. Perhaps, he’s just really charming?
It’s hard to see Butch Davis surviving this.
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