NFLPA suspends Wichard for link to UNC football
Posted December 3, 2010
Longtime agent Gary Wichard has been suspended for nine months by the NFL Players Association for his role in a recruiting scandal involving the University of North Carolina.
Wichard, an agent since 1980, was suspended for his involvement with Tar Heels linebacker Marvin Austin, who was dismissed from the team in October.
The length of the suspension means Wichard will not be able represent potential clients for the 2011 NFL Draft.
UNC Director of Athletics Dick Baddour said an NCAA investigation showed Austin accepted more than $10,000 in "improper benefits" and lied about it when questioned.
Two other UNC players, wide receiver Greg Little and defensive end Robert Quinn, were ruled "permanently ineligible" because of gifts they received from agents. All three were expected to be drafted this spring.
More than a dozen Tar Heels have missed at least one game this season as the NCAA investigates allegations about violations of amateurism rules and academic misconduct.
The union also is revoking the agent certification of Southern Cal undergrad Teague Egan, who gave a ride across campus to tailback Dillon Baxter, a violation of NCAA rules. A union spokesman said a review of Egan's qualifications showed he "is not fit to be a certified contract advisor."
Among his Wichard's NFL clients are Dwight Freeney, Jason Taylor, Antonio Cromartie, Elvis Dumervil and Darren Sproles.
Wichard also has significant, long-term links to former UNC associate football coach John Blake, who resigned Sept. 5, the day after the Tar Heels first game. Blake's phone records showed nearly 150 calls to Wichard between June 2009 and September 2010.
Reports by Yahoo! Sports in late September linked Blake and Wichard financially, through wire transfers and credit cards.
Attorneys for Blake said earlier this year that his client received loans from Wichard, but there was never an arrangement to direct players to Wichard once they left for the NFL.
Wichard's attorney has confirmed that the agent was interviewed by investigators with the North Carolina Secretary of State's office, who are trying to determine whether the state's sports agent laws were broken.