“Vice President” John Blake? – Updated

JohnBlakeWe have all gotten to know John Blake, UNC-CH’s “defensive line” coach, a lot better over the past month.  It seems like the NCAA may be getting to know him a lot better as well.  Hat tip to loyal reader I-Like-Tacos for posting a link to Yahoo! Sports’ Charles Robinson’s article addressing the relationship between Blake and Pro Tect Management and NFL agent Gary Wichard.

Hit the jump for more.

“No, no, no, no,” Wichard said. “John lived [in California] after he was the head coach at Oklahoma. He lived out in [Los Angeles]. We’ve socialized. We’ve been friends. His son is my godson. It has nothing to do with that. He hasn’t worked for me at all. I don’t get where that is coming from.”

Asked if Blake had ever been the vice president of football operations for Pro Tect, Wichard replied, “No. When he left Oklahoma, all he ever did was work out some of my veteran guys. He had his own camp out here. He was doing his own thing.”

A few things jump out right away when reading this article, but the main thing is that despite being a sports agent, Gary Wichard is also the most honest man to walk the Earth since John Adams:

“If the center of this controversy is my relationship with John, there’s really no controversy,” Wichard said. “If that’s what [the NCAA] is investigating, I think it’s just absurd. … I hope – I really, truly hope – that Marvin Austin’s whole case is based on me and John Blake. I hope that for Marvin Austin’s sake. At the end of the day, there’s nothing to investigate.”

In a 92-minute telephone interview, Wichard repeatedly questioned why the NCAA would be looking into his relationship with Blake. Asked if Blake had ever been a Pro Tect employee, Wichard repeatedly stated that he hadn’t.

Robinson does a great job of backing up Wichard when he points out the following excerpt from INSIDE THE PRO TECT BROCHURE:

• “Joining forces with Wichard, his close friend of nearly 20 years, John Blake heads Pro Tect’s football operations, bringing a most distinguished resume.”

• “Blake made the move into athletic representation because he feels he can have a greater on-going positive impact on the careers of athletes than merely coaching them in college for four years.”

I could easily copy and paste this entire article here, so please go and read the original.  I will refrain from posting any more of it in hopes that you will.  There are quotes from both Wichard and Blake in the brochure, and Wichard goes on to tell us that the brochure is meaningless because it is “like 1997 or whatever”.  He says he does not care what is in the brochure.

Well, you are going to care a whole hell of a lot soon, Mr. Wichard, because NC Secretary of State Elaine Marshall is looking into agent impropriety and you can bet your sweet ass that she has seen this brochure.

Why Blake is still employed at UNC-CH is beyond my comprehension skills, but then his hiring to begin with is also.  I am sure that there are plenty of defensive line coaches out there who were not once the “Vice President” of an agency that would love to wear baby blue.

Update

Both TarHeelFan and StateFansNation have chimed in on this, with SFN having posted last night.  Joe Ovies has now commented as well.

31 thoughts on ““Vice President” John Blake? – Updated

  1. Somewhere out there, Alpha Wolf is smiling.

    Really though, how long has EVERYONE known this Blake guy is dirty? This Wichard guy is obviously trying to hide something about their relationship and relationship they both have with players. He lied about Blake working for him, and when got called out, he backtracks and says the brochure is “old”…lol.

    Even more damning to Austin is probably this quote…

    “How did [Marvin Austin] get out here? Kentwan Balmer paid for him.”

    You can’t tell me that Wichard doesn’t know that that is a violation. But what’s even MORE interesting? The fact that the investigation is looking into the summer of 2009. That’s right, the summer BEFORE last season. If Austin or anyone else is found ineligible for the ’09 season, that (should)mean vacating wins and bowl appearances.

  2. Great work Columbo, where was your comments about Blake a couple months ago, considering this relationship has been known for sometime now. Typical Red Color Glasses reaction, just “fire” everyone, facts be damned.

  3. Oh and sorry Mike for posting another quote. Just felt it was too good to be overlooked or ignored, and reveals something else relevant in this 92-minute interview with Wichard.

  4. “Typical Red Color Glasses reaction, just “fire” everyone, facts be damned.”

    Facts be damned? Red color glasses reaction? Why is it that anytime anyone who is not a UNC-CH fan posts something about UNC-CH they are instantly a ABCer? Please show me one sentence that I wrote above that even comes close to taking a shot at UNC-CH.

    And this is posted because it is a new story that shows that the NCAA may have either broadened their investigation beyond Austin and into the coaching staff at UNC-CH, or that Blake may have been the target all along.

  5. “Why Blake is still employed at UNC-CH is beyond my comprehension skills, but then his hiring to begin with is also. I am sure that there are plenty of defensive line coaches out there who were not once the “Vice President” of an agency that would love to wear baby blue.”

  6. How is that a shot? It merely states that I do not understand why he was hired, and why he is still there. Are you trying to say that you support Blake and his baggage? Are you trying to say that you are happy that he is walking the sidelines for the Tar Heels?

  7. I saw this article yesterday and a fellow Hokie friend of mine had the following response, which I wish I could take credit for… since I agree with pretty much all of it:

    I have seen similar stories. This one gives some additional examples. Blake has followed around notorious programs (or did he help make them notorious?)…went from the Cowboys, to the Sooners, to Jackie Sherrill to Bill Callahan and wrapped back around to Butch. Butch knew what he was…a known commodity and he is Butch’s kind of coach and recruiter. You say get rid of Blake…he is a reflection of Butch or Butch is just stupid for not knowing what Blake is. Y’all can debate which way is worse.

    Nothing will surprise me, even the possibility of this somehow all blowing over for the Tar Heels…however, I am thinking that UNC will be living through bad press for quite some time, and for some very good and deserved reasons. I am definitely hoping for UNC and Butch to get what they deserve. I am thinking that whatever happens with Austin and maybe a few others is just for starters. If this is as bad as some report, either Butch, the AD and the entire athletic program is completely dirty and crooked or a subset of the program are and the leaders are lacking institutional control.

    Regardless, it will be harder for UNC to entice players and families like they have in the past. Even if UNC somehow escapes sanctions, Butch and the UNC program is starting to be revealed for what they are. Folks will be watching closer, especially the old guard at UNC that just have to be livid at seeing UNC dragged around by the likes of Blake and Butch. Fodder in the same sad stories with Miami, Lane Kiffin, Reggie Bush, South Carolina and Alabama. I bet Butch said he would make UNC more like USC-w and the SEC…except those schools were able to translate their “marginal” ethics into success on the field. I am thinking that Butch is one more under performing year away from becoming a complete punch line.

    Meanwhile, our #6 football team is preparing for a marquee match-up opening weekend against the #5 rated team…hoping to start our march towards a 7th consecutive 10-win season with a victory. Our major press is Frank aw shucks-in his way to the 2nd winningest active I-A coach, an 18th straight season with a bowl game and a wonderful class of legitimately recruited kids, by the most stable, straight forward set of coaches you will find…things smell a whole lot better in Blacksburg, even with the cows.

    In before “scoreboard” or “gtfo ABCer”

  8. The article in question only establishes two facts: 1) Blake used to work for Wichard in the past and 2) Blake and Wichard are still friends today. If you want to you can engage in an infinite amount of speculation based upon those two facts, but … those are the only two facts that seem to have been established. So…are either of those two things NCAA violations?

  9. Blake is a great line coach and recruiter, and I will support him until actual FACTS prove otherwise. I need to see a little more than a life long friendship with an Agent since the 1980′s, an outdated brochure from the late 1990′s, and Blake trying to keep food on his table in between coaching stints in the late 1990′s by coaching draft prospects for NFL combines before I damn the man as a stain on the UNC program or make comments about not comprehending how he still is employed by UNC.

    Kev just hopes there is more to this story because he is tired of seeing Blake and Davis beat out Beamer for recruits that would have headed to Blacksburg in the past.

  10. Raj, do you think that Wichard blatantly lying about Blake’s former employment gives reason for any speculation? If he merely used to work for him, which Wichard denies despite his own words, then why go the denial route to begin with?

  11. ^OK Mike – fact #3 that has been established is that one of Blake’s friends is a liar … personally, I assume that ALL sports agents are liars… is that an NCAA violation?

    You show me proof that Blake is breaking an NCAA rule and I’ll be the first one to say “fire his ass”. But to imply that there MUST be something fishy going on if someone who is in the college coaching business now used to be in the professional sports business in the past is a real stretch… the list of current college coaches (and assistant coaches) who used to be NFL scouts, coaches, assistants, etc. is long, and I would bet that many of them spent time working for a professional sports marketing or consulting (or whatever it is that PRO TECT did)business in between coaching jobs since these are all different areas within the same industry.

  12. Raj, please answer Mike’s question. The important point is WHY would he lie about Blake working for him? Or do you think he just forgot?

  13. The lying is the part that implies that there is something going on that stinks, IMHO. If it is all good, why lie about it? I’ve said it on THF and I’ll say it here:

    Personally, I hope that UNC-CH and Austin are both cleared of any and all wrong doing. The longer this drags out the more I have no clue what is going to wind up coming down in the end.

  14. ^^ Could be that the dude panicked and thought “well, I guess the fact that he used to work for me will get blown all out of proportion” and thought he was doing Blake a favor by lying about it… or maybe Blake is the fire breathing, program destroying, baby eating, Antichrist that you hope he is… I don’t know. But neither do you.

  15. UNC: Honest…We didn’t mean to cheat… we ran out of Quarterbacks. we, we had a flat offense. we didn’t have enough money for cab fare. our unis didn’t come back from the cleaners. An old agent friend came in from out of town. Someone stole our mascot. There was an earthquake. A terrible flood. Locusts. IT WASN’T OUR FAULT, WE SWEAR TO GOD!!!!

  16. ^^ Don’t be silly; wooden helicopters have been a staple of Amish intelligence for years……

  17. Hello trip to California in Summer of 2009, Good-Bye all of UNC’s wins in 2009! Looks like the Hokies will be 6-0 vs. UNC since joining the ACC, after all… just a matter of time.

  18. I know the ABCers have made Blake out to be the devil incarnate, and I am also aware of his reputation prior to coming to UNC. With that being said:

    “Why Blake is still employed at UNC-CH is beyond my comprehension skills, but then his hiring to begin with is also.”

    Possibly because Blake has never been proven to be involved in any impropriety, nor does this supposed Yahoo revelation do anything but provide more possibilities and innuendo. And I would assume Butch hired him and has remained loyal because Blake is a former player of his.

    “How did [Marvin Austin] get out here? Kentwan Balmer paid for him.” You can’t tell me that Wichard doesn’t know that that is a violation.”

    What Gary Wichard knew or did not know is irrelevant. he is not governed by NCAA rules.

    “Blake has followed around notorious programs (or did he help make them notorious?)…went from the Cowboys, to the Sooners, to Jackie Sherrill to Bill Callahan…”

    Exactly. I’m not defending the guy, but is Blake guilty by association in the court of public opinion because none of those places are a paragon of virtue?

    Continued…

  19. Part the second…

    And this is posted because it is a new story that shows that the NCAA may have either broadened their investigation beyond Austin and into the coaching staff at UNC-CH, or that Blake may have been the target all along.

    Pure speculation on your part, Mike. It is highly doubtful that Blake was the target all along, given the apparent focus on agents. It is just as likely that the NCAA was investigating the Miami party, which leads to any contact Austin had with agents, which leads to Austin working out at Wichard’s place, which leads to the connection between Wichard and Blake.

    The lying is the part that implies that there is something going on that stinks, IMHO. If it is all good, why lie about it?

    Agreed the lying looks bad, but there are other reasons why Wichard lied, like tax reasons (maybe he was paying Blake under the table), for example. And besides, A) Blake’s “vice president” work for Wichard was a decade ago; and B) there is no apparent violation or conflict of interest for Blake to have worked in that capacity. So yes, Wichard was lying but to what gain?

    One of the authors of the Yahoo piece was on the radio yesterday and basically made the point that they caught Wichard in a lie and so it begs the question of what Blake said to the NCAA. The implication is that since Wichard was lying, then did Blake somehow lie. But he admitted he had no way of knowing what Blake said to the NCAA and that we would have to wait and see the testimony when the NCAA released its report.

    In other words, impugn Wichard and imply potential guilt by Blake in something that may not even be a violation anyway. Solid journalism there, Yahoo.

    Continued…

  20. Part the last…

    The ABCer math (powered by Yahoo!) in this case is:

    Blake is dirty plus Wichard is lying times Blake gave money to Austin to go to CA minus Black Santa times the square root of Blake and Austin and Balmer were runners for Wichard divided by Cam Thomas didn’t actually sign with Blake equals Butchisdirtydeathpenaltylackofinstitutionalcontrolrawr!

    In any case, the revelation that Balmer was the conduit for Thomas and Austin going to Cali actually weakens the case against Blake IMHO. In fact, I thought the Yahoo article made a better case against Balmer than Blake, and even the author admitted yesterday it is a stretch to pin anything on Blake until all the facts come out. Now if you want to call a guy who makes over a half mil a year and plays in the NFL a runner for Wichard, then go ahead but I think it’s a stretch, too, especially since Thomas did not sign with Wichard and the Miami party was supposedly at Frank Gore’s (also not a Wichard client).

    You show me proof that Blake is breaking an NCAA rule and I’ll be the first one to say “fire his ass”.

    I think most any rational CarolinaFan is saying this, and I will go so far as to add that I have always maintained Austin must be held accountable for his actions. But even the most rabid ABCer has to admit the possibility exists that Blake really did have nothing to do with Balmer paying for plane trips and that Blake’s relationship with Wichard has nothing to do with the case at hand.

  21. Doc,

    I appreciate your input.

    You point out that I am speculating. Well, you are also speculating as well, are you not?

    Please make sure you are going to point out who made what comments and where they are from when you are going to copy and paste them into your comments.

    ““How did [Marvin Austin] get out here? Kentwan Balmer paid for him.” You can’t tell me that Wichard doesn’t know that that is a violation.”

    What Gary Wichard knew or did not know is irrelevant. he is not governed by NCAA rules.”

    No, he is not, but he is governed by the rules of law. There is a reason Elaine Marshall has opened an investigation.

    In regards to Blake you said “I’m not defending the guy”. Sure seems like it to me.

    I know, I know. It is hard to look at this objectively when you wear baby blue colored contact lenses all the time. At some point you need to understand that I have no agenda here other than to follow the story and provide thoughts and avenues for discussion.

  22. Mike,

    Indeed I am speculating, and through my (admitted) bias I am speculating innocence while you speculate guilt. My specific point in calling out your speculation (as opposed to mine) is that despite the Yahoo report, there is no evidence to support your suggestion that Blake may have been the target all along. Other than that, I’m OK with everything you wrote.

    Fair point in not providing attribution for who said what in the comments.

    You say there is a reason Elaine Marshall has opened an investigation. There are a lot of reasons she has done so, I’m sure. But even if Wichard knew Balmer paid for Austin, he is under no legal obligation to report it, is he? And while it may be an NCAA violation, Balmer’s actions by themselves are not illegal. May be a spirit/letter of the law argument, perhaps.

    And I get it – it’s hard to say you’re not defending a guy when you appear to defend him. My point was simply that his reputation is not one of going some place pristine and sullying it. It seems to be built partly because he has been places not known for excellence in compliance, if you catch my drift.

    Let me be clear – you have been perfectly fair in your presentation of points and if I have somehow implied or asserted you were a rabid WuffLoon, you have my apologies, sir. I simply wanted to present an opposing view. I am trying hard not to be a Pollyanna but I am trying to give every benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise.

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