Two schools, one from the ACC, acknowledged their role in “WakeyLeaks” on Wednesday and the ACC introduced the possibility of an investigation into the scope of the information leak by a former Wake Forest assistant coach over a three-year span.
A day after Wake Forest identified Tommy Elrod, a former assistant coach who was member of its radio broadcast team, as the source of the leak of confidential game-plan information, Louisville and Army confirmed they have been contacted about Elrod’s leak. It remains unclear how many teams were involved in what is one of the most bizarre chapters in ACC football history.
Wake Forest officials said on Tuesday they had notified the “all the appropriate entities” who were entangled in Elrod’s scheme, which picked up the nickname “WakeyLeaks” on social media as a play on the 2006 security breach “WikiLeaks.”
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Louisville has a former assistant coach who worked with Elrod on its staff this year and Army had one last year.
Officials from N.C. State and North Carolina said on Wednesday that neither school had been contacted by Wake Forest. A Duke official declined comment.
The incident came to light after members of the Wake Forest football staff found documents at Louisville’s Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium after the Demon Deacons’ 44-12 loss on Nov. 12. Elrod and current Louisville assistant coach Lonnie Galloway worked together for two years at Wake Forest, as the “passing game co-coordinators” in 2011 and ’12.
Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich issued a statement on Wednesday acknowledging that Galloway and Elrod “shared information” the week before the game.
Among the communication were a few plays that were sent and then shared with our defensive staff. None of the special plays were run during the course of the game.
Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich in statement released Wednesday
“Among the communication were a few plays that were sent and then shared with our defensive staff,” Jurich said in the statement released by the school. “None of the special plays were run during the course of the game. Our defense regularly prepares for similar formations every week in their normal game plan.
“Any other information that may have been discussed was nothing that our staff had not already seen while studying Wake Forest in their preparations for the game and the material was not given any further attention. I’m disappointed that this issue has brought undue attention to our football staff as we prepare for our upcoming bowl game.”
Wake also found that since 2014, Elrod did help, or tried to help, other teams. Galloway, in his first season at Louisville, is the only current assistant in the ACC who has previously worked with Elrod.
Ray McCartney was Army’s defensive line coach last season. McCartney, who now has the same job at Davidson, was an assistant at Wake Forest from 2001 until 2013. An official from Army on Wednesday night confirmed that the school had been contacted by Wake Forest about Elrod’s potential involvement in sharing information.
Officials from Indiana did not return a phone call on Wednesday seeking comment. Brian Knorr, a former Wake assistant, was Indiana’s defensive coordinator last season.
Wake Forest beat Army, 17-14 on the road last season, and lost at home to Indiana, 31-24. Wake played both teams again this season but neither of those assistant coaches still work at those respective schools.
A former walk-on quarterback at Wake Forest in the 1990s, Elrod spent 11 seasons as an assistant to Jim Grobe at Wake Forest from 2003 until 2013. When Grobe was replaced by Dave Clawson, Elrod was not retained as assistant.
Elrod, who could not be reached for comment on Wednesday, had worked for the Wake Forest IMG Radio Network for the past three seasons as an analyst. He is no longer employed by the radio network and the school said on Tuesday it has banned Elrod from its facilities.
The school said it investigated Elrod’s emails, text messages and phone records and determined he “provided or attempted to provide confidential and proprietary game preparations on multiple occasions, starting in 2014.”
The school said no other members of the Wake staff, athletic department or players were involved.
As a private school, Wake Forest does not have to share the complete findings of its investigation. It said it has contacted the schools involved but did not specify how many were or how many were from the ACC.
The conference office issued a statement on Wednesday about the latest controversy involving one of its member schools.
“Protecting competitive integrity is fundamental to the Atlantic Coast Conference,” the statement read. “The conference is in the process of obtaining the internal findings from Wake Forest University. Based on the information obtained, the league office will perform its due diligence, and as necessary, additional discussions and actions will occur.”
The incident is another black eye for the ACC joining the long-running academic scandal at North Carolina, the use of prostitutes to lure basketball recruits at Louisville and a pay-for-play scheme for Miami football players.
The ACC did not get involved in those issues, which were NCAA related, but this, as the conference noted, is a “competitive integrity” issue.
The Demon Deacons went 6-6 this season and reached a bowl game for the first time under Clawson. They will face Temple in the Military Bowl on Dec. 27.
Joe Giglio: 919-829-8938, @jwgiglio