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Playing Devil's Advocate

Alternate title for this post: Random thoughts (in which it may appear I am defending certain people or events although that might not actually be the case) that deserve consideration and discussion. (Additional note: remember the "devil's advocate" title - I am merely throwing some ideas out there - doesn't mean I believe everything that's here. ) Keep that in mind as you read below:

**As the news of John Blake's numerous phone calls to and from Gary Wichard is breathlessly reported by local media and rival fan bases, does this actually come as some sort of surprise? Dating back to the original Yahoo! story that revealed Blake on a brochure for Wichard's agency, the media has hyped the "discovery" of the relationship between Blake and Wichard when that relationship has been well-known for years. So now there is evidence that Blake and Wichard talked a lot (actually, wouldn't frequently be a better word there? Of the 61 calls the N&O highlighted, only five were for more than 10 minutes, and 18 were only one minute long - voicemails, or texts, perhaps?), that proves what, exactly? And yet some media types and ABCers act as if this is some sort of monstrous development. Even Mike at Thee Sports Blog, who has had plenty to say about the issues at UNC, thinks this doesn't warrant going crazy over.

**Just as a point of comparison, Blake and Wichard had 61 contacts in 61 days (and 92 in the other 174 days).  Former NC Highway Patrol spokesman Everett Clendenin sent 2,380 texts just to his married co-worker in a 61-day period. I'm just saying 61 sounds like a lot until you put it in perspective, exaggerated as it may be.

** Will someone please list, in what has been reported either by Yahoo, the N&O, or anywhere else, the actions taken by John Blake that are illegal in some form? Blake's relationship with Wichard was previously investigated by the NCAA when Blake was at Oklahoma. There is no NCAA prohibition against out-of-work coaches working for agents, as Blake apparently did after he was fired as OU's head coach. There is also no prohibition against coaches having contact with agents, even if it is 153 times over 8 months. Yes, Blake is a potential conduit between an agent and players, but what specific things has he done wrong?

** It appears that since Blake returned to college coaching in 2003, he has had exactly 3 players sign with Wichard - one each at Mississippi State, Nebraska, and UNC. If he's a runner or recruiter for Wichard, he stinks at it.

** Why has no one in the local media taken up the larger question - why have Wichard and Blake gone to such lengths to hide their relationship in the late 90s and early 00s? Blake clearly did not put Pro-Tect on his resume and Wichard went into sheer crazy talk trying to deny Blake's involvement with his company. Why?

**If Blake lied on his resume, how much responsibility falls on UNC or Butch Davis to find that out? And even if Davis knew he worked for/with Wichard at some point, that fact in and of itself is not disqualifying.

** After being out of coaching for five years, Blake was hired by Mississippi State in 2003, and then by Nebraska in 2004, where he stayed for three years. If Blake is somehow dirty, what is the responsibility of those two schools to perform due diligence on Blake?

**If Blake cleared being vetted at Miss. State and Nebraska with a solid employment history of four years, how much deeper are you supposed to dig? Likewise, I understand Blake has a reputation, but even this guy who wrote a piece blasting Blake says he was clean at Nebraska (and offers only guilt by association at MSU).

**Marcel Dareus gets 2 games for accepting $1700 worth of benefits from agents. A.J. Green gets 4 games for selling a jersey for $1000 to an agent. How are you supposed to draw any conclusions from that seeming inconsistency?

**Is it possible that Greg Little retained an attorney because A.J. Greene got twice as much punishment for just over half the benefit as Dareus? Could it be he feels he can't trust the NCAA?

** And finally, in the last major NCAA investigation in this area 21 years ago, the NCAA found 650 violations of NCAA policy regarding the use/resale of complimentary basketball tickets and potentially hundreds more violations regarding the issuance/resale/trade of university-issued basketball shoes (the exact number was never known because the university never bothered to keep records of who was getting shoes and how many they were getting) over a four-year period. It was also later revealed that a player on the basketball team received upwards of $60,000 from an agent and a booster. And yet, the basketball coach (who was also the athletic director) was ruled by the NCAA to have no knowledge of any of this  - in fact, certain members of that fan base will have you know, someone from the NCAA supposedly wrote a letter attesting to the character of the head coach and that he would be happy for his son to play for that coach.

Then why, exactly, if the head coach/AD can have literally hundreds of NCAA violations and tens of thousands of dollars funneled to one of his players over a number of years and not know a thing about it, is Butch Davis supposed to know the exact whereabouts of his players every minute of every day (including intersession, when the Miami party took place) and know the exact number and content of phone conversations between an assistant coach and an agent? Maybe Paul Dee will write a letter saying what a swell guy Butch is and that will make it all better.

Again, the content above does not represent the exact opinion of THF or myself. Nevertheless, these are questions that are up for discussion. Fire away.