Former Wake Forest Assistant Tommy Elrod Provided Game Plan to Opponents

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured Columnist

BLOOMINGTON, IN - SEPTEMBER 24: A Wake Forest Demon Deacons player holds up his helmet before the game against the Indiana Hoosiers at Memorial Stadium on September 24, 2016 in Bloomington, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Former Wake Forest Demon Deacons assistant coach Tommy Elrod was fired from his post as one of the team's radio broadcasters on Tuesday after a school-led investigation revealed he attempted to provide or provided information regarding the team's game plan to opponents.

"Based on emails, text messages and phone records, Tommy Elrod, a radio announcer for Wake Forest football games, provided or attempted to provide confidential and proprietary game preparations on multiple occasions, starting in 2014," the school said in a press release, according to SB Nation's Blogger So Dear.

Following Wake Forest's 44-12 loss to the Louisville Cardinals on Nov. 12, the Demon Deacons announced they were launching an investigation after a member of the program found "documents inside Louisville's stadium that showed specific plays the Demon Deacons had never run previously," according to ESPN.com's Andrea Adelson.

After the game, Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino denied his coaching staff was ever made aware of Wake Forest's specific game plan.

"I heard about it right before we got on the plane to leave," he said on ESPN's Mike & Mike, according to the Courier-Journal's Steve Jones. "But I can assure you that we prepare each week the way that you're supposed to prepare, and I like the fact that our team knows how to do that."

On Wednesday, Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich issued a statement on the investigation, per Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports:

The ACC would also release a statement on Wednesday, per Eric Crawford of WDRB in Louisville:

Protecting competitive integrity is fundamental to the Atlantic Coast Conference. The conference office is in the process of obtaining the internal findings from Wake Forest University. Based on the information provided, and any other information obtained, the league office will perform its due diligence, and as necessary, additional discussions and actions will occur.

"We were contacted by Wake Forest," Army athletic director Boo Corrigan said in a phone interview with Sports Illustrated' Pete Thamel on Wednesday. "We're looking into it."

Corrigan would not elaborate further, per Thamel.

On Thursday, Virginia Tech athletic director Whit Babcock told Thamel the university had been contacted as part of the probe as well. He said the school was "disappointed and embarrassed."

Former Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer also released a statement:

Elrod previously served as an assistant coach for the Wake Forest football team for 11 seasons under former boss Jim Grobe, but he did not return after Dave Clawson took over as head coach in 2014.

Clawson expressed his disappointment in Elrod's actions Tuesday, per the school's press release (via Blogger So Dear):

I am extremely disappointed that our confidential and proprietary game preparation was compromised. 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. 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. I am glad we have taken steps to ensure it will not happen in the future. At this point, this is a matter for [athletic director] Ron Wellman and others to act on. My staff and I are focused on Temple and preparing the team for the Military Bowl.

Despite Elrod's meddling, the Demon Deacons (6-6) have six wins for the second time in the last eight seasons. In fact, Wake's six wins in 2016 equaled the total the team combined to post during Clawson's first two years as head coach.

Looking ahead, Clawson and Co. will attempt to put the bizarre storyline in the rearview mirror as they prepare for a Dec. 27 Military Bowl clash with the Temple Owls.

If the Demon Deacons come out on top, it will represent the program's first bowl win since Grobe led Wake Forest past Navy in the 2008 EagleBank Bowl.

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