Wakeyleaks now a full-blown ACC issue as Louisville brazenly deflects blame
ACC is on the clock to investigate Louisville and others that may have received Wake Forest game plans
The ACC is on the clock with Wakeyleaks. So is Louisville's Bobby Petrino and any other ACC coach whose assistants may have received confidential game plans from Wake Forest's since-fired radio announcer.
The Tommy Elrod espionage story at Wake Forest is so bizarre that Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich admitted Wednesday his staff cheated and expressed disappointment at the attention this twisted tale has received.
There are so many unanswered questions about Wake Forest firing its radio announcer for allegedly providing or trying to provide "confidential and proprietary game preparations on multiple occasions, starting in 2014." That's three years of a mole trying to share info. That's three years of a mole possibly compromising some Wake Forest games.
Now we know for sure one ACC school that received info -- Louisville. As if we didn't suspect this already.
Remember, Louisville's football stadium is where documents pertaining to Wake Forest's game plan ended up in the Cardinals' possession before their Nov. 12 game. Remember, Louisville offensive coordinator Lonnie Galloway coached with Elrod at Wake Forest, where Elrod was not retained when Dave Clawson replaced Jim Grobe as head coach in 2014.
Incredibly, Jurich put out the following statement Wednesday confirming Galloway's involvement and offered not an ounce of disappointment:
Our offensive coordinator Lonnie Galloway and Tommy Elrod have known each other since 2007. Lonnie received a call from Elrod during the week of the Wake Forest game, and some information was shared with him that week.
Among the communication were a few plays that were sent and then shared with our defensive staff. None of the special plays were run during the course of the game. Our defense regularly prepares for similar formations every week in their normal game plan.
Any other information that may have been discussed was nothing that our staff had not already seen while studying Wake Forest in their preparations for the game and the material was not given any further attention. I'm disappointed that this issue has brought undue attention to our football staff as we prepare for our upcoming bowl game.
Jurich is disappointed about undue attention? Try being Wake Forest, which says its radio analyst shopped around confidential information for three years. Jurich's statement is so brazen that it requires dissection.
"Among the communication were a few plays that were sent and then shared with our defensive staff." How many plays is a few? Did anyone on Louisville's staff, including Petrino (if he knew), bother to ask how Galloway got this information?
"None of the special plays were run during the course of the game." So because Wake Forest supposedly didn't run the plays, that makes it acceptable to obtain the information from someone at that same school?
"Our defense regularly prepares for similar formations every week in their normal game plan." Congratulations, Louisville. You didn't need to cheat to beat Wake Forest, yet you still tried.
"Any other information that may have been discussed was nothing that our staff had not already seen while studying Wake Forest in their preparations for the game and the material was not given any further attention." My goodness. Exactly how much "any other" information did Elrod provide?
Louisville's translation: There's nothing to see here because, as Louisville spokesman Rocco Gasparro told the Louisville Courier-Journal on Tuesday, Petrino "doesn't have a comment on what appears to be a Wake Forest issue."
Correction. This is now very much an ACC issue.
Louisville's best alibi for this whole bizarre situation is that it trailed Wake Forest entering the fourth quarter. Still, we now know Louisville did use Wakeyleaks to try to help win, something Petrino tried to distance himself from last month.
"I can tell you that we didn't," Petrino said on ESPN's "Mike and Mike" show before Louisville played Houston.
"I have no knowledge of the situation," Petrino said in a written statement on Nov. 16. "We take a lot of pride in the way we operate our program. As I've stated already this season, my coaching philosophy has always been to play the game with sportsmanship."
So what exactly did Petrino know and, given his history of public lies, did he fib once again? Who else in the ACC accepted this information?
Most disheartening for Wake Forest is that Elrod, a former Demon Deacons player, allegedly betrayed a whole lot of people from his alma mater. Why would he do that? We don't know. Messages left with Elrod were not returned. James Quander, a lawyer representing Elrod, said via email, "At the moment we are not in a position to discuss the allegations."
Wake Forest's statement that Elrod "attempted to provide" information suggests some schools said no. That begs another question: Why did no ACC coach bother to give Wake Forest a heads up?
"Hey, FYI: Your radio analyst is shopping us your plays."
Look, insider trading in college football is nothing new. It's gone on for years.
Former Clemson coach Tommy Bowden said he used to call graduate assistants that left other programs and "kind of pump them for information." But getting information from an in-house mole who's still at the school?
"I've never heard that happen," Bowden said. "If he left the program and went somewhere else, that's normal sharing information. But not in-house. It just ruined the guy's career. Originally, when it happened, I thought Petrino or his assistants went to the locker room and looked in garbage cans [and found Wake Forest's game plan]. Most everybody does that."
So what should a coach do when an in-house mole calls with info?
"I'd like to say I'm holier than thou and I wouldn't accept the information," Bowden said. "But in the heat of the battle, you're trying to save your job and need a win, people do desperate things -- even Christian guys like me who pray for forgiveness instead of permission. I've never heard it to this extent."
It's easy to find bewildered amusement in this story. It's easy to brush it off as a not-so-important story involving a 6-6 Wake Forest team.
But there's nothing funny about an employee at a university providing potentially damaging information to opponents. That strikes at the very heart of fair competition.
"Providing competitive integrity is fundamental to the Atlantic Coast Conference," the ACC said in a statement Wednesday. "The conference office is in the process of obtaining the internal findings from Wake Forest University. Based on the information provided, and any other information obtained, the league office will perform its due diligence, and as necessary, additional discussions and actions will occur."
The ACC office has a responsibility to promote fair play and punish coaches found to have obtained confidential information from Elrod. ACC coaches and athletic directors have a responsibility to show and tell what they know about Wakeyleaks.
Wake Forest, which isn't publicly identifying the schools, said its conclusions were based on emails, text messages and phone records. There's apparently evidence that even Louisville couldn't keep dodging.
So Jurich copped to it and expressed regret ... at the distraction to Louisville's Citrus Bowl preparation. Poor Louisville.
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