Oracular basketball shadow-agent William "Worldwide Wes" Wesley (profiled here, if you're unfamiliar with the man or his unique and sort of spooky aura) was in Indianapolis last night, likely following Oregon around because of his connections to Nike. He could only follow so far, because for the first time that anyone seems to remember, he was specifically barred from his usual in-game haunts: the locker rooms, tunnels, and press boxes that generally require a credential. Someone even went so far as to print and distribute a flier with his face on it (pictured above, via @UofLSheriff50) among security guards, to make sure. The flier worked, too—shortly, before the game started, reporter Kent Taylor tweeted this photo of Wesley outside, and added "Security guard just took Worldwide Wes out":
(Worldwide Wes is the one looking at his phone, between the two other guys looking at their phones.)
Dan Wolken had the scoop, shortly before the game began:
A picture of William "Worldwide Wes" Wesley, one of the most powerful behind-the-scenes men in basketball, was distributed to security guards at Lucas Oil Stadium on Friday at the Midwest Regional semifinal along with instructions to keep him out of credentialed areas.
"We were told not to let him in," said one female security guard, who declined to give her name to USA TODAY Sports. Asked for clarification, her immediate supervisor in the area responded with "No comment."
Bill Potter, NCAA media coordinator for the site, said Wesley would be allowed in the building with a ticket but not into areas that require a credential, just like the general public. Wesley, however, isn't exactly the general public.
The idea that the NCAA would target the mysterious Wesley – and distribute pictures of him to security guards near the court – is one of the more interesting developments of the NCAA tournament. Especially because Wesley has long been seen around college players and high school prospects, even at NCAA-controlled events.
Potter said he wasn't sure who distributed the pictures, and Wolken couldn't figure why Wesley was singled out. He works for Creative Arts Agency, so there is some (shaky) basis for preemptively separating him from student-athletes, and of course no one without a credential is allowed into credentialed areas anyway, but some things still don't make much sense about his blacklisting. What's the point of the credentialing process if they have to pass out a picture of someone without a credential to keep him away? How did they know Wesley was planning on attending? How did it end up that he was removed from the stadium just a few minutes after Wolken's story was posted? And did one of sports' most powerful movers and shakers—reputed to be a confidant of everyone from Allen Iverson to Bill and Hillary Clinton—really spend the night pacing around outside Lucas Oil stadium?
The episode raises more questions than it answers, which fits perfectly into what we know, and don't know, about Worldwide Wes.