This is the story making the rounds on Twitter today. SI.com did a lengthy story recounting the career of former sports agent Josh Luchs who openly admits to paying players in college on a regular basis. It is an interesting read regardless of your fan allegiance and honestly should scare the crap out of everyone.
For our purposes here, the section on Gary Wichard and John Blake is of particular interest.
Gary used his contacts in the coaching community to help him get players. This has recently come into public view, as the NCAA and the state of North Carolina are investigating the Tar Heels football program and whether John Blake, a Carolina assistant coach since 2007, steered players to Gary and received money from him. It's no secret in the agent business that some college coaches steer players to certain agents. I laughed when I heard Gary deny in the media that John ever worked with Pro Tect.
When I was with Gary, John worked hand in hand with us, and Gary called him his "partner." John was the defensive line coach of the Dallas Cowboys when they won Super Bowls XXVIII and XXX, and the head coach at Oklahoma from '96 through '98. He was one of the best recruiters I'd ever seen. He was just electric, and I leveraged him to get clients whenever I could. In '02 two of the biggest clients we got were due, in large part, to John. He went with Gary and me to meet with Fresno State defensive lineman Alan Harper, and Gary and I had John work out defensive end Kenyon Coleman from UCLA before his senior year. That was an NCAA violation, but it wasn't like paying a kid. It was helping Kenyon become a better player.
Basically Gary Wichard is a freaking liar, which we knew. As you recall Wichard swore up and down Blake never worked for him but if this story is to be believed Wichard seriously understated the nature of their relationship. Blake has a reputation as a great recruiter. Some have attributed that to his willingness to pay recruits. However, according to this it is because of his personality and ability to connect with people. So good that Wichard used Blake to recruit clients which may shed some light on what Blake was doing(rationalizations aside) talking to Marcell Dareus and Ndamukong Suh. So the question is was Blake still Wichard's "partner" while at UNC? These revelations provide a pattern of behavior and a template for how Blake worked with Wichard. Were the phone calls made at UNC to other players, the wire transfers and loan part of a continued working relationship between the two men? Maybe, maybe not. As with most of the items to surface during this scandal, this article invites more questions to be pondered.