Source: Wichard facing suspension by NFLPA
Embattled agent Gary Wichard could face suspension by the NFL Players Association for his involvement in the scandal surrounding the University of North Carolina football program, a union source told Yahoo! Sports on Thursday. The source said the NFLPA’s Committee on Agent Regulations and Discipline (CARD) is expected to meet in the near future to consider the cases against Wichard and other agents.
NFLPA attorney Tom DePaso said the process for agent discipline is two-fold, followed by possible appeal by the agent. The first part of the process is that NFLPA attorneys present any case for discipline to CARD. The committee can then decide to send a letter outlining the discipline to the agent. After that, the agent can essentially appeal the discipline to an arbitrator if he so chooses. There are two designated arbitrators who handle agent cases.
Yahoo! Sports has uncovered evidence that Wichard had a longstanding financial relationship with former UNC assistant head coach John Blake and that Wichard’s company, Pro Tect Management, may have paid for hotel stays by UNC standout defensive lineman Marvin Austin. Austin has been suspended indefinitely by UNC and has yet to play this season.
Both the relationship with Blake and Austin are strictly forbidden under union and NCAA bylaws and could result in severe penalties against Wichard, if not suspension or even complete removal of his agent certification. Wichard has already been under investigation by the union, the NCAA and the North Carolina Secretary of State for his involvement with Blake and Austin.
Wichard, who has been certified as an agent for nearly 25 years, represents numerous high-profile players, including Jason Taylor(notes), Dwight Freeney(notes), C.J. Spiller(notes), Antonio Cromartie(notes) and Jimmy Clausen(notes).
The report by Yahoo! Sports may fuel faster action after multiple sources acknowledged the financial relationship between Wichard and Blake, who once was an employee of Pro Tect. Blake admitted to state investigators that he has a longstanding financial relationship with Wichard.
CARD member and former NFL standout running back Robert Smith declined to discuss the case, but sounded eager to do whatever is necessary to punish rogue agents in the aftermath of the North Carolina scandal.
“I wish we could do more and move faster to get these morons out of there,” said Smith, who is one of five current or former players on the committee. “It has been a real hassle.”
Wichard refused to comment on the situation.