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Updates on Michigan Sign Stealing Investigation

Ann+Arbor%2C+MI+-+September+21%2C+2019%3A+Entrance+gate+at+the+University+of+Michigan+Stadium%2C+home+of+the+Michigan+Wolverines
Paul Brady
Ann Arbor, MI – September 21, 2019: Entrance gate at the University of Michigan Stadium, home of the Michigan Wolverines

The University of Michigan Wolverines are one of the best college football teams in the country this year. They have a perfect 12-0 record and are looking to win their first National Championship since 1997. However, this season was overshadowed by controversy as the Michigan Football program was accused of sign-stealing, which is the practice of obtaining information on the signs another team uses to call offensive and defensive plays. 

Source: Depositphotos (Susan Montgomery)

Here is a timeline of events that have occurred so far:

 

October 17th, 2023: An outside investigation firm showed evidence of the Michigan Sign Stealing Operation to the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA), which focused on files and videos that a lot of members of the Michigan Football staff and coaches had in their possession. 

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October, 18th, 2023: The NCAA informs the University of Michigan and its conference, the Big Ten Conference, that they have started an investigation into accusations of rule breaking; and according to the NCAA Bylaw 11.6.1, “off-campus, in-person scouting of future opponents is prohibited.”

 

October 20th, 2023: Conner Stallions, an off-field analyst with Michigan who was at the center of the controversy, was suspended with pay by the Michigan athletic director, Warde Manuel. Manuel issued a statement saying “Michigan Athletics suspended Connor Stallions today, with pay, pending the conclusion of the NCAA investigation.”

 

October 23, 2023: It was reported that Stallions purchased tickets to the opponents’ games for himself and unknown people for more than 30 games over the course of a three year period. It was revealed that he recorded the opponents signs in order to gain an advantage over them.

 

November 4, 2023: Stallions resigned from Michigan, and Stallions’ attorney issued a statement saying “Stallions doesn’t want to be a distraction to the football program.” He also defended Coach Jim Harbaugh by saying “Connor also wants to make clear that, to his knowledge, neither Coach (Jim) Harbaugh, nor any other coach or staff member, told anyone to break any rules or were aware of improper conduct regarding the recent allegations of advanced scouting.”

 

November 7, 2023: Big Ten Conference schools such as Rutgers, Ohio State and Purdue are revealed to be the programs that were involved in the sign-stealing operations against Michigan. Ohio State shared Michigan’s offensive signals and Rutgers had shared the defensive signals with Purdue, who had faced Michigan in the Big Ten Championship game in 2022.

 

November 10, 2023: The Big Ten Conference announced a three game suspension (Penn State, Maryland and Ohio State) for Jim Harbaugh, due to violations of the Big Ten  conference’s sportsmanship policy by “conducting an impermissible, in-person scouting operation over multiple years, resulting in an unfair competitive advantage that compromised the integrity of the competition.”

 

November 17, 2023: After trying to send the case to court and getting a temporary restraining order on the ban – which could have allowed Harbaugh to come back and coach the team’s final two regular season games – Jim Harbaugh and the Wolverines accepted the suspension with the following statement by the University: “This morning, the University, Coach Harbaugh, and the Big Ten resolved their pending litigation.”

 

December 2, 2023: Jim Harbaugh will return to the sidelines against Iowa in the Big Ten Championship after serving his three game suspension. 

 

This investigation is still ongoing and there will be more details coming.

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About the Contributor
Jonathan Chekol
Jonathan Chekol, Staff Writer
Jonathan Chekol grew up in Clarksville, MD, and he is currently a sophomore at HCC, majoring in Audio Video Media Production. Jonathan is a sportswriter here at The HCC Times and has an internship within the Athletics Department in multimedia sports communications. He is a huge sports fan and has been following sports, particularly football, basketball and soccer since childhood. He has a very good understanding of these sports and can explain details such as tournament formats, regulations, the history behind them, people in the boardroom, etc. to anyone around him. Jonathan also likes to exercise and spend time with family and friends.  

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