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Wake Forest investigating if Louisville knew too much; Petrino responds

Wake Forest investigating if Louisville knew too much; Petrino responds

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Wake Forest officials are investigating how documents pertaining to the Deacons' game plan might have ended up in Louisville’s hands before last Saturday’s football game at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.

“We are concerned that there was some type of security breach,’’ coach Dave Clawson said Tuesday. “I have shared it with Ron Wellman, and we’re doing everything we can to make sure all of our information and data is more secure moving forward.’’

Wellman, Wake Forest’s director of athletics, said Clawson told him of the breach on Friday, the day before the Deacons lost to the fifth-ranked Cardinals, 44-12. Wellman said a member of Wake Forest’s traveling party found the documents at the stadium.

Wellman declined to elaborate on the nature of the documents.

“Since that time we have been looking at various possibilities and haven’t come up with anything for certain at this point,’’ Wellman said Tuesday night. “But we will continue to review everything that we do and investigate how this might have happened and make sure it doesn’t happen in the future.’’

Wellman said he called Tom Jurich, Louisville’s director of athletics, but Jurich was not available at that time. He said he left a detailed message, and that Rocco Gasparro, the Cardinals’ assistant sports information director for football, called Associate Athletics Director Steve Shutt of Wake Forest to learn more about the matter.

Wellman also said Wednesday that he has contacted the Atlantic Coast Conference about Wake Forest’s concerns.

Coach Bobby Petrino of Louisville said Wednesday he knew nothing of the matter.

“I have no knowledge of the situation,’’ Petrino responded by email, when asked to comment about the report. “We take a lot of pride in the way we operate our program. As I’ve stated already this season, my coaching philosophy has always been to play the game with sportsmanship.

“Right now our focus is on our game (Thursday) at Houston and finishing the 2016 season strong.’’

Wellman said he was not aware of previous concerns over the security of Wake Forest’s football facility.

As for the investigation, Wellman said he wasn’t sure how long it will take.

“No idea,’’ Wellman said. “We just have to develop a process and follow the process. How long that will take remains to be seen. But it will not be in the next day or two for sure.

“It may be weeks before we have an outcome to this.’’

Security at Wake Forest football practices has tightened since Clawson replaced Jim Grobe as head coach before the 2014 season. Under Grobe, the public and members of the media were allowed to watch practice from the wall that separated the field from the football offices.

This season, practice is open only to approved members of the media, game officials who officiate the scrimmage segments of practice and guests of the coaching staff. Media are confined to the balcony of the McCreary Field House, the indoor facility that opened in January.

“It’s awfully difficult to spy at a practice, especially at our facility,’’ Wellman said. “Anybody that is unusual – or anybody who has a phone up and acting like they are taking film or video – we would jump on that pretty quickly.

“And there was no behavior like that.’’

A growing concern in all sports is cyber security. In July, the St. Louis Cardinals’ director of scouting was sentenced to 46 months for hacking the Houston Astros’ scouting records.

Chris Correa, the Cardinals’ official, was also ordered to pay $279,038 in restitution. Correa was found guilty of repeatedly viewing in 2013 and 2014 confidential information found on the Astros’ scouting data base.

Wellman declined to speculate how security of the Wake Forest football program might have been compromised.

“We just need to make sure it doesn’t happen in the future and whatever did happen, we take the steps to eliminate how it happened so it doesn’t happen in the future,’’ Wellman said.

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