This week, Wake Forest announced that an investigation found former assistant coach turned radio analyst Tommy Elrod had been feeding opponents game plan information for years. The investigation -- since dubbed "WakeyLeaks" -- began after Wake Forest's loss to Louisville in November, and the investigation took only a month. Elrod was fired and hasn't commented on the allegations.
His name will go down in history, but he's not the only man to be accused of participating in some gridiron espionage, traitorous or otherwise. Here are some of the most notorious examples throughout NFL and college football history.
Spygate, 2007. The Patriots' scandal is the gold standard by which all other spying scandals are judged. In 2007, New England fined $250,000 and coach Bill Belichick was fined $500,000 for filming the New York Jets' coaches' defensive signals from an unauthorized area. Filming them isn't illegal, but there are prescribed areas to do so. That launched an investigation into the Patriots' past video practices, which led to allegations that the Pats illegally filmed the Rams' walkthrough before Super Bowl XXXVI in 2002. Belichick denied that and the Boston Herald eventually retracted the story, admitting that it had never seen the film or talked to anyone who had seen it.
Spygate: Part II, 2010. Steve Scarnecchia worked for the Patriots from 2001-04, and was with the Jets in 2006-07 when the original Spygate allegations broke from the Jets' side of the scandal. Three years later, Scarnecchia taped a Rams walkthrough before a game in London. The NFL fined ex-Patriots assistant and then-Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels $50,000, along with a $50,000 fine for the Broncos organization. Scarnecchia was fired but worked in video with Syracuse before being hired by the Falcons as an assistant to Dan Quinn in 2015. The most salacious allegations of the original Spygate were never proven, but the second chapter certainly led many to view the initial allegations, which never produced punishment from the NFL, in a new light.
Red River Spying, 1976. Texas coach Darrell Royal publicly accused Oklahoma coach Barry Switzer of spying on Texas' practices ahead of their 1976 matchup. He challenged the alleged spy, Switzer and one of Switzer's assistants to take a lie detector test, and if they passed, he promised to donate $10,000 to a charity. Switzer called the allegations "ridiculous," because he knew the real spying had gone down four years earlier, when Switzer was the Sooners' offensive coordinator. Assistant Larry Lacewell had his friend Lonnie Williams pose as a construction worker and take notes on Texas' practice. His recon gave OU insight into a Texas quick kick. They blocked it and scored, turning a 3-0 Oklahoma lead in the third quarter into a 27-0 rout that was Texas' only loss of the season. Williams got caught only because he bragged about it for years, including once to a Texas booster who relayed the info to Longhorns coaches in 1975, spawning the allegations in 1976.
Country Roads Spying, 2006. During one of its spring practices, Marshall eyed a young man writing detailed notes in a notebook. That fall, the Thundering Herd were slated to play in-state rival West Virginia for just the second time in 83 years. Marshall's practices were open to the public, but coaches from other programs need permission to attend. Marshall said the accused spy originally claimed to be a student reporter. Then he said he went to UAB, one of Marshall's Conference USA rivals. Then he tried to run. Eventually, they found out he was a West Virginia student who worked in the WVU football offices and had a card in his pocket with names and numbers for coach Rich Rodriguez and other assistants. West Virginia said he was acting without the authority of anyone in the department or on staff. He was transferred to work elsewhere on campus, and there's some debate about the quality of the notes he took, but they were laced with derogatory terms about Marshall's players, like calling Marshall's all-conference center Doug Legursky, at 6-foot-3 and 311 pounds, "fat."
Spying from the bushes, 1983. Ahead of its season opener against Tulane in '83, Mississippi State caught a spy with binoculars in the bushes outside the practice field. He said he was an assistant with a New Orleans high school. He was actually Gerald Materne, a volunteer graduate assistant on Tulane's staff, which included future Notre Dame coach Bob Davie. Tulane said he acted on his own, but the details of his staff exit were contested. Tulane said he resigned. Materne said he was fired after he got caught but said that Tulane's staff sent him on the reconnaissance mission. He had been caught in Davie's car and sued for $988,000. Davie ended up being deposed in the lawsuit but denied any involvement. Materne eventually settled for $27,000.
Sugar Bowl Spy, 1950. After a practice in Biloxi, Miss., leading up to Oklahoma's game against LSU in the 1950 Sugar Bowl, coach Bud Wilkinson got a tip that three men had spied on OU's practice from a nearby garage, covered by a tarp. He put together a team to stake out the garage the next day and found a spy atop a ladder. They chased him and eventually got a photo of him. He ran into a nearby house whose owner was willing to protect him and prosecute anyone else who entered. OU displayed a print of the photo at the alumni hotel and the spy was eventually identified as Piggy Barnes, an ex-LSU player and then-Philadelphia Eagle. Another ex-Tiger, Elbert Manuel, owned the house he'd run into. Nothing was ever proven and LSU denied knowledge. Wilkinson was furious when local papers treated the story as a joke, too. Either way, it didn't have much effect. Oklahoma completed its 11-0 season with a 35-0 win.
Swamp Spies, 1980s. Florida coach Charley Pell took the Gators from 0-10-1 in 1979 to 9-2-1 in 1983, but in '82, the NCAA launched an investigation of the program. Two years later, it alleged Florida had committed 107 NCAA violations, including spying on opponents' practices. By '85, the NCAA found evidence of only 59 infractions, but the program was banned from television and the postseason in '85 and '86. Pell resigned in '84 and the SEC banned Florida from playing in the Sugar Bowl the Gators qualified for, sending LSU instead. They also eventually vacated the '84 title, and the program lost 20 scholarships over the next three years.
Disgruntled ex-employee allegedly spying, 2014. Most coaches will tell you stealing signals is part of the game. But giving signals to opponents after a midseason firing? Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury and defensive coordinator Mike Smith alleged that ex-DC Matt Wallerstedt was doing that after he resigned three games into the 2014 season. "They have been passed around," Smith said. "I know other coaches have called and our signals have been passed around the whole time. All I know is karma's a bad deal." Wallerstedt issued a statement through his lawyer denying the allegations and calling them "unfounded." The statement added, "It sounds like something that's done in the political arena -- blaming someone else for what you now control. Coach Kingsbury and Smith would do well to simply execute their own game plan instead of trying to blame others for what may be their own shortcomings." After lawyers got involved, Texas Tech never addressed the issue publicly again.