WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina -- Wake Forest has fired a former assistant coach-turned-broadcaster who the school says attempted to leak football game plans to opponents for three years.
The school on Tuesday night announced the findings of a nearly month-long investigation that started after documents related to the team’s plans for the Louisville game were discovered at the Cardinals’ stadium.
In a statement, the school placed the blame on Tommy Elrod - a former Wake Forest player and assistant under former coach Jim Grobe. Elrod was not retained by Dave Clawson when he succeeded Grobe in 2014, and he became an analyst for the IMG College radio broadcasts of the Demon Deacons’ games.
“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,” Clawson said in a statement. “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.”
Elrod did not return a phone call seeking comment, and by Tuesday night, he had deleted his Twitter account. His attorney, James Quander, a defensive end at Wake Forest from 1991-94, declined comment when reached by phone.
The school said it reviewed emails, text messages and phone records and determined Elrod either provided or attempted to provide “confidential and proprietary game preparations on multiple occasions” starting in 2014.
The school didn’t disclose which opponents the probe shows Elrod gave information to, reports CBS Greensboro, N.C. affiliate WFMY-TV.
The station notes the story became so popular on social media it got a hashtag all its own: #wakeyleaks -- a takeoff on Wikileaks.
Wake Forest finished 3-9 in each of the past two seasons before improving to 6-6 this season and earning a berth in the Military Bowl against Temple.
The school says Elrod was fired immediately from his broadcasting role and has been banned from Wake Forest’s athletic department and facilities.
“I’m deeply disappointed that he would act against Wake Forest, our football team and our fans in such a harmful manner by compromising confidential game preparation information,” athletic director Ron Wellman said. “It is a relief that the team can move forward without his actions further undermining the positive strides Dave Clawson, his staff and the team have made.”
The investigation also found that no other members of the school’s athletic department, football staff and players were involved.
The probe began last month after a member of the school’s travel party found the documents at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium before the Demon Deacons were to play at Louisville, and Wake Forest made administrators at both Louisville and the Atlantic Coast Conference aware of their concerns.
Clawson did not say specifically what was in those documents, did not accuse Louisville of taking the information and said “I’m not going there” when he was asked on a teleconference whether it affected the outcome of the game. Wake Forest led that game 12-0 but went on to lose 44-12. Louisville coach Bobby Petrino said he had no knowledge of the situation.