Report links Blake, agent

Sports Illustrated publishes story about agent who worked for Gary Wichard and with former UNC coach John Blake.

Staff WriterOctober 13, 2010 

A cover story in the Oct. 18 edition of Sports Illustrated magazine touches on the relationship between former North Carolina associate head football coach John Blake and California-based sports agent Gary Wichard.

In a first-person story, Josh Luchs, a former sports agent who worked for Wichard from 2000 to 2004, wrote that he laughed when he heard that Wichard denied in the media that Blake ever worked with Pro Tect Management, Wichard's firm.

Luchs wrote that Blake worked hand in hand with Wichard, and that Wichard called Blake his "partner."

"In '02 two of the biggest clients we got were due, in large part, to John," Luchs wrote.

Luchs wrote that Blake went with Luchs and Wichard to meet with Fresno State defensive lineman Alan Harper, and that Luchs and Wichard had Blake work out defensive end Kenyon Coleman of UCLA before his senior year.

Blake's relationship with Wichard has attracted the interest of NCAA investigators and the North Carolina Secretary of State's office in its probe of possible violations of the state's Uniform Athlete Agent act. Blake resigned from UNC on Sept. 5, saying he had become a distraction to the team.

His lawyers have confirmed that Wichard has given Blake money they categorized as "gifts" or "loans." The money included gifts, according to Blake's lawyers, to pay for Blake's son's private school tuition once in 2008 and twice in 2009, while he was on the Tar Heels' staff.

Blake and Wichard are among at least four people who have been interviewed in the N.C. Secretary of State's probe.

Fourteen players have been held out of at least one game in the NCAA's investigation into impermissible benefits and possible academic misconduct at UNC. On Monday, senior defensive tackle Marvin Austin, senior wide receiver Greg Little and junior defensive end Robert Quinn were informed that their college careers were over as a result of the findings of the investigation.

Luchs' Sports Illustrated story names 30 players alleged to have receive money or other benefits in violation of NCAA rules. Luchs admits to paying players, but the alleged violations all happened before 2006.

No players at North Carolina schools were named in the report.

Efforts to reach Luchs, one of Blake's lawyers (William Beaver) and Wichard's lawyer (Howard Silber) for comment were unsuccessful Tuesday. Beaver has said that Blake did not work for Wichard but has acknowledged that Blake might have trained a few of Wichard's clients.

Luchs currently works as a commercial real estate agent.

ktysiac@charlotteobserver.com or 919-829-8942

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