Records show John Blake made many calls


Newly released phone records show more than 20 calls between John Blake, Gary Wichard and Marvin Austin from the end of July 2009 to the beginning of August 2009.

It is the same time period in which Austin was training at Proactive Sports Performance, a facility populated by clients of Wichard. The records also show at least two conversations between Blake and Butch Davis while Austin was out of town.

Former UNC player Cam Thomas has admitted former Tar Heel teammate and Seattle Seahawks player, Kentwan Balmer, paid for he and Austin to travel to the training facility.

However, Austin claims he didn't know he was doing anything wrong, telling reporters at UNC's pro day in March that no one at UNC knew.

"I didn't think I had to call the University", he said.

Austin and Thomas played the entire 2009 season. Thomas was drafted into the NFL in 2010 by the San Diego Chargers. Austin never played another game at UNC.

NCAA investigators arrived in Chapel Hill on July 12, 2010 after being tipped to possible improper benefits. Austin was the first player kicked off the team. According to UNC, Austin received at least $10,000 in benefits.

The phone records show Blake and Austin had at least one call of more than 30 minutes the day the investigation began. That call was followed by multiple calls to Wichard and more than 12 hours later, a call to Butch Davis.

Blake and Wichard have a long-time relationship. In an interview with Yahoo! Sports last year, Wichard denied that Blake was ever employed by Pro Tect Management, despite Blake being listed as the VP of football operations on an archived version of the company's website.

Wichard insisted to Yahoo! Sports the two had a 25 year friendship, but there had never been a financial relationship. Subsequent evidence proved that was not true and that Blake received frequent payments from Wichard and in fact, carried a Pro-Tect credit card. Wichard, who was suspended by the NFL Players Association for providing improper benefits to Austin, died in March after a battle with cancer.

What Butch Davis knew remains unanswered. UNC is still awaiting a letter of infractions and possible sanctions from the NCAA. The NCAA sent a letter of inquiry to UNC this month, indicating the investigation would be completed sometime this month.

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