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Tommy Elrod Undermined Wake Forest’s Football Program

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Wake Forest was betrayed by one of its own.

NCAA Football: Wake Forest at Louisville Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

I’m having extreme difficulty wrapping my head around how someone could work for an extension of the Wake Forest athletic department, actively spend many hours interviewing coaches and players, yet at the same time completely undermine everything that that athletic department and those players and coaches were trying to accomplish. Yet that’s exactly what Tommy Elrod did to the Wake Forest football program.

The Blogger So Dear staff has Wake Forest University graduates from the classes of 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2016, and one that will graduate in 2017. Every member of our staff takes immense pride in being a Wake Forest graduate and fan, much like so many others who love Mother So Dear. We do everything to help the school that we love, and know that so many of you all do the same.

Dave Clawson became Wake Forest’s head football coach in December of 2013, and the program was in bad shape. There wasn’t much young talent on the roster, and the strength & conditioning numbers were poor. Yet thanks to the unbelievable dedication of the coaching staff and the players who have been with the program since Clawson was hired, this team is scheduled to play in a bowl game less than two weeks from today.

Every 4 a.m. wake up call. Every 5 a.m. conditioning session. Every sprint. Every lift. Every rep. Every film session. Every practice. Every two-a-day. Every recruiting trip. Every game plan. All were done with one goal - make Wake Forest football matter again. They accomplished all of that while they had someone on the inside actively putting them at a competitive disadvantage and trying to prevent their dreams from becoming a reality. I truly can’t imagine what the coaches and players must be thinking.

Wake Forest has to overcome a lot of obstacles in order to have a successful football team. The school has high admission standards, which lowers the available talent pool. The school has the smallest alumni base of all Power Five schools and isn’t publicly funded, so that significantly reduces resources. At the same time it regularly competes against larger state schools with more resources. Still, those acknowledged disadvantages are part of what makes the university a special place, and reasons that fans and alums take such pride in rooting for Wake Forest.

It’s hard enough to win with those inherent disadvantages, but it is even more difficult when one of your own provides proprietary game plan information to the opponents. In it’s most desired state, sports are a competition based entirely on meritocracy. Athletes and coaches who train and prepare the best will emerge victorious more often than not. Instead, a meritocracy was not happening.

It’s possible that zero overall outcomes were impacted by Elrod “providing or attempting to provide confidential and proprietary game preparations, starting in 2014” over Clawson’s tenure. Meaning, Wake would have had the exact same record over the past three seasons. I don’t care. I care that someone who was a Wake Forest student, player, graduate, graduate assistant, full-time coach, and now color commentator would do this. Not only do I care that it was acted upon, I care that it was even considered for one second.

When you consider that this could have impacted multiple games, the ramifications are potentially enormous. Can you imagine if Wake Forest had not made a bowl game this year because of this? How much is this bowl appearance worth in terms of actual revenue, development for the players, potential recruiting benefits, etc.?

It’s not just an athletics issue. Harvard has conducted research on how athletic success can directly lead to an improved applicant pool among the general student body. Wake Forest benefited from a nice increase in applications and quality applications after the Orange Bowl appearance, and all of this exposure is extremely relevant to our potential student population, our potential academic ranking, and our endowment. I’m absolutely disgusted and I hope that you all are as well.

The only positive? Elrod is no longer associated with the university, and perhaps the football program can rally around this disgraceful act, and become even stronger moving forward. I hope that we as a fan base can support our players and coaches more than ever and take even greater pride in Mother So Dear.

Rah! Rah! Wake Forest Rah!

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Coach Tom Elrod Situation

Posted by Blogger So Dear on Tuesday, December 13, 2016