The University of Michigan football program has come under investigation for an alleged sign-stealing scheme going as far back as three seasons.
Both the NCAA and the Big Ten Conference have been investigating the accusation for the past three weeks. Coach Jim Harbaugh has denied any knowledge of such a scheme.
While trying to decipher an opposing team’s signals is broadly legal, the NCAA has rules against in-person scouting of an opponent’s play signals in advance of a match, and the use of video to record a prospective opponent’s signs.
The case against Michigan centers around former analyst Connor Stalions, who resigned last week, denying via his lawyer any awareness of rule breaking or improper conduct. Other Big Ten schools have said they have records of Stalions purchasing tickets to games of future opponents, as well as surveillance footage showing people in those seats recording games.
It is uncertain exactly how this case was brought to the attention of NCAA investigators. While its investigation could drag out for weeks or months, Big Ten Commissioner Tony Petitti has the option to punish Michigan for poor sportsmanship if he chooses – and he is under pressure from multiple coaches to do so.
Michigan has protested the idea that Petitti should punish the Wolverines before the NCAA investigation is complete, and contended that it has proof of other Big Ten schools illicitly stealing the Wolverines’ signs.