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WTF at WF: Tommy Elrod and College Football Treason

[lead align=”default”]Wake Forest football had a mole in its midst, and it turned out to be Tommy Elrod, one of their own.[/lead]

Remember a few weeks ago when Louisville had plays from Wake Forest that only the Demon Deacons knew? That spurred on an investigation, and that led to Tommy Elrod, color commentator for the IMG Radio Network.

Elrod is not the sort of guy one would suspect of football perfidy. After all, he is a Wake Forest alum, former player, and former coach. He played for the Deacs from 1993 to 1997 and moved to the coaching staff thereafter. In 2014, the former quarterback and quarterbacks coach joined the broadcast booth.

That is where the treachery reportedly began.

Tommy Elrod: What The Hell?

The Wake Forest Athletic Department commenced an investigation into how Bobby Petrino’s crew could have possibly gotten a hold of their plays. All of this led back to Elrod, and it wasn’t just a one-team deal. A trail of emails, texts, and phone calls uncovered that Elrod willfully divulged elements of Wake Forest’s gameplans over the past three seasons.

At first, people may have thought that Louisville was behind their own spying. It turned out that they got this information from inside Wake’s program, or really just outside it.

Now, the bio page for Tommy Elrod is gone from Wake Forest’s website. He is banned from team facilities and gone from the IMG network. This is what the Klingons called “discommendation,” or the stripping of honor as their backs are turned. Elrod didn’t get stripped of honor by the Deacs, however: he forfeited it.

Tommy Elrod: Why The Hell?

This is the part where reckless speculation would ordinarily abound, but we won’t be that reckless. The fact is, none of us know what would motivate someone to betray their alma mater in such a bold way. Maybe he was annoyed by Dave Clawson’s hire and decided to sandbag the program. Perhaps he was in receipt of ill-gotten gains. Or, in a possible application of Occam’s Razor, he may have just had the loosest lips in Winston-Salem with no malicious intent. There’s no point in trying to figure it out; just wait for the 60 Minutes interview someday.

Whatever the case, one wonders what this means now for teams sharing information with members of the broadcast crew. It’s common for commentators to meet with the coaches and discuss what’s to come. Maybe Elrod got his hands on a little too much, and other programs will probably do well to avoid specifics in the future.

This sort of a breach would cut any school deeply. An alumnus, former coach, and former player evidently chose to turn on his program. While his motivations are not clear, what is clear is that you never know what dark forces lurk around your athletics program.

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