Greensboro, you’ve got a problem.
More precisely, that would be the Atlantic Coast Conference, which has its offices in Greensboro, N.C.
The reason for this brewing crisis is what happened just down the road from Greensboro at Wake Forest, which produced headlines on Wednesday when an internal school investigation revealed that former Wake Forest football player, assistant coach and team broadcaster Tom Elrod had spent the past three years attempting to and succeeding in giving game plans of the Deacons’ games to opponents.
All of this came into sharp focus when portions of the Wake Forest game plan were found after the Cardinals had romped to a 44-12 victory over Wake.
A school investigation revealed that Elrod, who had not been retained on the coaching staff when Coach Dave Clawson took over three years ago, was the person involved.
As a former player and coach and the radio football analyst, Elrod was regarded as “family” by the Deacon coaching staff, with total access.
As unusual as this case appears, the main issue here does not revolve around Wake Forest, it centers on the other schools and coaches who either accepted what Elrod was offering, or were aware that it was being offered–and said nothing.
This is an integrity issue for the league and it must be investigated and dealt with by ACC commissioner John Swofford. Right now, the only other school mentioned is Louisville and coach Bobby Petrino, who has anything but a pristine reputation.
Louisville, which has had to deal with self imposed sanctions in basketball because of evidence that the basketball dorm was being used as a party house for hookers, can ill afford another scandal.
Nor can the ACC. What ACC commissioner John Swofford must do is check with each ACC school on the Deacons’ schedule the past three seasons to see if they had been offered game plans by Elrod. The problem with that is that without tangible evidence, it will be almost impossible to prove anything if the schools say there had been no offers made from Elrod, although there could be ways to check school cell phone and e-mail records.
There is linkage to Louisville, however, not only with the actual game plan notes which were found, but there is also a connection between Elrod and a coach on Petrino’s staff, co-offensive coordinator Lonnie Galloway worked with Elrod at Wake Forest.
This is not a trivial matter. Integrity is an important issue in college, despite the rules that are constantly broken.
It stretches the imagination that Louisville was the only Wake Forest opponent involved.
If there were other schools involved who had knowledge of what was going on and chose to say nothing, then the ACC and John Swofford have a much, much larger issue which needs to be addressed as quickly as possible.
The ACC must contact the following conference schools: Duke, NC State, Syracuse, Florida State, Virginia, Clemson, Boston College, North Carolina and Virginia Tech (the ACC teams Wake faced the past three seasons) and ask the following questions:
What did they know and when did they know about Wake Forest’s game plans before they met the Deacons?
And, once the answers are provided, penalties for any malfeasance should be harsh.
Swofford and the ACC can and have worked their way out of some precarious situations in the past.
There can be no wiggle room this time.