Late last Friday, the NFL Players Association released an official announcement that Gary Wichard is hereby suspended from acting as an NFLPA Contract Advisor for nine months and that Teague Egan‘s NFLPA Certification was revoked.
Wichard was suspended for having impermissible communication with UNC’s Marvin Austin prior to Austin being eligible for the NFL Draft. Wichard waived his right to appeal the suspension. Egan’s certification was revoked for “violating numerous provisions of the NFLPA’s Agent Regulations when he provided an improper benefit under NCAA rules by giving University of Southern California player Dillon Baxter a ride in his company’s golf cart, resulting in Baxter being suspended for USC’s game against Oregon State in November…He also is alleged to have placed misleading information on his agency’s website about his relationship with a Southern California attorney.”
Many NFLPA certified Contract Advisors had called for the revocation of Teague Egan’s certification since his name started popping up in connection with football players at the University of Southern California. People were upset that the NFLPA granted certification to someone who had not only lacked a post-graduate degree, but had not yet even finished his undergraduate education. Egan, who calls himself a student-agent, was the focus of an interview on Sports Agent Blog. Egan wrapped up my interview with the following line, “It’s not the grades you make, it’s the hands you shake.” Since publishing the interview, most people have been talking about this embarrassing Campus Cribs video featuring Egan.
Whereas Egan has never signed his name on a Uniform Player’s Contract, Gary Wichard runs a successful football company named Pro Tect Management. The company has been around for 30 years and represents Jason Taylor, Dwight Freeney, Terrell Suggs, Keith Bulluck, Antonio Cromartie, Elvis Dumervil, Darren Sproles, Arrelious Benn, Jimmy Clausen, Everson Griffen, Taylor Mays, C.J. Spiller…the list goes on.
After the media reported on Wichard’s close ties with former UNC associate head coach John Blake, and Marvin Austin, the defensive tackle that Blake used to coach, was subpoenaed by investigators from the office of North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine Marshall, Wichard’s phone was ringing with people asking questions about his recruiting of UNC athletes.
On July 17, 2010, Wichard said the following to the News and Observer,
“I’ve never talked to him [Marvin Austin] about representing him. I’ve never gone down there, and I never will.”
Yet, Wichard has no intention to appeal the nine month suspension for impermissible communication. I guess the fact that there is proof that Austin has stayed at a hotel in California under his own name along with Wichard’s company name, Pro Tect Management, does not help his cause.
While no one other than Egan and his immediate family is complaining about the revocation of his certification, there are quite a few agents who are very displeased with the NFLPA’s action taken against Wichard. They think it was way too light; a slap on the wrist. I, for one, am not surprised at all with the NFLPA’s disciplinary action.
As I wrote on October 4, 2010, I am more interested in the State of North Carolina’s reaction than the NFLPA’s response. The NFLPA’s suspension does not really do anything other than give rival agents ammo against Wichard when recruiting potential new clients. Wichard will continue to earn money on clients represented by Pro Tect, and will likely continue to be involved in his client’s lives. His name will not appear on any new Uniform Player’s Contracts, but Pro Tect has another employee by the name of Jason Chinn, who will probably take over representation duties for all Pro Tect clients. You know that C.J. Spiller is not going anywhere. High profile agent David Dunn of Athletes First received an 18 month suspension from the NFLPA in the past. A few years later, he just happens to run one of the most powerful football agencies in the country.
Word on the street is that North Carolina’s Secretary of State, Elaine Marshall, has been “missing in action” as of late. She was not very involved with the NFLPA as it decided the proper discipline of Wichard. Is she busy conducting her own investigation, or is it case closed on Wichard?