Wake Forest scandal a new kind of college football fiasco

Wake Forest radio analyst Tommy Elrod has been fired after an investigation revealed that he leaked gameplan information to multiple opponents, the school announced Tuesday.

College football always gives us plenty to chew on, but this time, it might have outdone itself.

Have you heard the one about the former Wake Forest assistant football coach-turned-radio announcer who allegedly leaked details about the Demon Deacons’ game plans to its opponents?

It’s crazy. It’s also true. The announcer, Tommy Elrod, who played football at Wake Forest in the 1990s, has been fired.

The questions and concerns he leaves behind are numerous, and troubling. Were students, alumni, fans, sponsors and all the participants on the field duped into believing they were watching (or playing in) an honest competition, when they perhaps were not? Did Elrod, who headed to the broadcast booth after being fired as a coach in 2013, mete out a unique form of revenge on the athletic department that got rid of him?

Did Wake lose games it might have won had Elrod not had open access to practices and playbooks?

And, what about the student-athletes themselves? As Winston-Salem Journal columnist Scott Hamilton appropriately asks: “How many of the 91 times battered quarterback John Wolford was sacked were at least assisted by a little inside information?”

It’s all concerning, and it begs for one of the head coaches from a school that played Wake this year (if not previous years) to speak out immediately if not sooner about what he and his staff found out from Elrod.

Tulane, Duke, Delaware, Indiana, Syracuse and Virginia all lost to Wake. Sing out, fellas. What did you know?

Six teams defeated Wake this season: North Carolina, Florida State, Army, Louisville, Clemson and Boston College. How about it, guys? Army, you’re the really principled school in this bunch. You go first.

Actually, Louisville should start. Wake Forest’s internal investigation – the sports media is ingeniously calling this “Wakeyleaks” – began following Wake’s 44-12 loss to the Cardinals on Nov. 12, when staff members discovered materials left behind by Louisville that indicated the Cardinals were prepared for plays the Demon Deacons had not run before, according to a USA TODAY Sports report.

Louisville coach Bobby Petrino – it’s a scandal, so of course he’s involved – said in a statement in November when rumors were flying about inside information that he “had no knowledge of the situation.” Can that really be the end of it?

There’s one person who can answer that question while taking control of this budding fiasco right away. He is ACC Commissioner John Swofford, and part of his job description is ensuring that every ACC school in every sport is participating on a level playing field.

“Based on emails, text messages and phone records,” Wake Forest said in a statement, Elrod “provided or attempted to provide confidential and proprietary game preparation on multiple occasions” beginning in 2014, when he was hired as an analyst on the Wake Forest IMG Radio Network.

“No members of the Wake Forest athletic department, football staff or players were involved in any way in these actions,” the statement said.

Here’s Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson: “It’s incomprehensible that a former Wake Forest student-athlete, graduate-assistant, full-time football coach and current radio analyst for the school would betray his alma mater. We allowed him to have full access to our players, team functions, film room and practices. He violated our trust which negatively impacted our entire program.”

Your move, Mr. Swofford.

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