If North Carolina was waiting for the other shoe to drop in their improper benefits and academic improprieties scandal, this is surely it.
According to Charles Robinson at Yahoo! Sports, receipts exist proving that NFL agent Gary Wichard and former University of North Carolina assistant football coach John Blake engaged in multiple financial transactions since 2007.
Wichard and Blake are now at the center of NCAA and North Carolina Secretary of State probes, which are seeking to determine the nature and scope of alleged agent tampering involving the football program. Those investigations have also focused on Tar Heels defensive tackle Marvin Austin, who has made at least five trips that have come under scrutiny. Two of those trips included training at a California facility less than two miles from Wichard’s agency, Pro Tect Management. Yahoo! Sports has obtained a hotel receipt from one of those trips, which lists Austin’s name above Pro Tect Management, as well as an address and Marriott Rewards number belonging to an NFL marketing agent who represents two current Pro-Tect clients.
Specifically, Yahoo! Sports has proof of a $45,000 loan from Pro Tect to Blake and a Pro Tect credit card in Blake’s name. They even have a receipt with Pro Tect’s information on it that was deleted from a version submitted to lawyers.
Wichard is denying the allegations while Blake refuses to comment. Wichard and Pro Tect are currently the focus of the NCAA and North Carolina’s probes into the alleged improprieties at UNC.
Wichard is facing strong allegations that could not only affect his status as an agent in the eyes of the NFLPA but North Carolina’s Uniform Athlete Agent Act makes it a felony punishable by up to 15 months in prison for agents to provide anything to athletes prior to agreeing to a contract.
Sadly for UNC, this one is just getting started. Between the academic allegations, player benefits and now the proof of a financial relationship between an agent and a coach, the possibility of “lack of institutional control” has to be thrown out there. Not to mention the fact that Butch Davis’ days are numbered.
Keep an eye on Carolina March for reaction and updates.