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Big Ten Coaches Urge Action Against Michigan for Alleged Signal Theft, Say AP Insiders

by Sophia Chen
6 comments
Sign-Stealing Investigation

Big Ten football coaches are exerting pressure on Commissioner Tony Petitti to impose sanctions on the University of Michigan and its head coach, Jim Harbaugh, due to accusations of signal theft that have tainted the reputation of the Wolverines, currently ranked second, as the postseason looms.

In a conference call with Petitti, coaches voiced their dissatisfaction with the Big Ten’s lack of response to the accumulating evidence. It is alleged that a Michigan staff member deployed individuals to conduct prohibited scouting on competing teams. This claim comes from two sources privy to the discussions that took place on Wednesday—one who was present on the call and another who was directly involved.

These sources chose to remain anonymous in their communication with The Big Big News on Thursday, as the Big Ten has not publicly disclosed these internal deliberations.

The release of the initial College Football Playoff rankings, which placed Michigan third, has only intensified the coaches’ indignation over the perceived inaction.

The coaches have emphasized that this matter extends beyond NCAA and CFP jurisdictions, affecting the integrity of football itself.

In a prior video conference with Big Ten athletic directors, Petitti was first confronted with these concerns and the demand for punitive measures against Michigan. The subsequent coaches’ call, though routine, was dominated by discussions surrounding the allegations facing Michigan.

Petitti proposed another meeting with the coaches, potentially to be held on Sunday, according to the same sources.

Following another session with the athletic directors on Thursday, there was still no resolution reached.

According to an attendee of this meeting, Petitti informed the directors of his plan to consult with the conference’s presidents and Michigan representatives to thoroughly review the matter.

Nebraska’s head coach Matt Rhule discussed the situation on Andy Staples’ On3 program, noting that the meeting served as a platform for the coaches to express their concerns and discuss the repercussions of the allegations, praising Petitti’s role as commissioner.

The NCAA does not prohibit sign stealing, but its regulations forbid in-person scouting during the season and the use of electronic devices to capture opponents’ signals. The charges against Michigan are serious and intricate.

Both Michigan and the Big Ten have confirmed that the NCAA is investigating the Wolverines’ football operations. The program has put a minor staff member, Connor Stalions, on suspension.

Evidence has surfaced that tickets for multiple Big Ten games over the past three seasons were acquired under Stalions’ name, and similar patterns were observed for tickets to recent Southeastern Conference championship games.

Given the typically slow pace of NCAA investigations, it is expected that the current inquiry will continue well beyond the CFP national championship slated for January 8.

Even with a prompt notice of allegations to Michigan from the NCAA, the university would have a 90-day period to formulate a response, followed by a subsequent hearing.

The potential penalties the Big Ten could levy are not precisely defined, although the conference bylaws do grant the commissioner discretionary powers to act decisively on issues relating to sportsmanship and competitive fairness.

Petitti’s decision-making is hampered by the limited information shared by the NCAA with the Big Ten, as per an informed source. Big Ten institutions have submitted evidence, including records of ticket purchases under Stalions’ name and video surveillance that appears to show individuals recording the field with cellphones.

Harbaugh has already undergone a three-game suspension this season, enforced by the university itself for separate violations of NCAA rules.

The Wolverines, with an 8-0 record, are gearing up to host Purdue, followed by games against Penn State and Maryland, and concluding the regular season with a match against Ohio State.


This article has received contributions from AP Sports Writer Larry Lage.


For more information and updates, follow Ralph D. Russo at his Twitter handle provided and listen to his podcasts through the given link. Stay informed about the AP Top 25 poll throughout the season by signing up at the specified link.


For comprehensive coverage on college football, visit the Big Big News official website or check out the AP Top 25 college football poll page.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Michigan sign-stealing controversy

What are the allegations against the University of Michigan’s football program?

The University of Michigan is accused of conducting prohibited advanced scouting of opponents by stealing signs, a scheme that involved purchasing tickets under a staff member’s name to attend and record other teams’ games.

Who is involved in the sign-stealing allegations at Michigan?

The allegations involve the Michigan Wolverines football program, including a low-level staff member named Connor Stalions, and are directed towards the practices under head coach Jim Harbaugh.

How has the Big Ten Conference responded to the sign-stealing accusations?

The Big Ten Conference, led by Commissioner Tony Petitti, has held meetings with coaches and athletic directors to discuss the situation, but no formal action or sanctions have been announced yet.

What are the potential consequences for the University of Michigan if the allegations are proven true?

The potential consequences could include sanctions from both the NCAA and the Big Ten Conference, though the exact nature of these penalties is not yet clear.

Has the NCAA taken any action against Michigan in the sign-stealing case?

The NCAA is currently investigating the allegations against the University of Michigan’s football program. However, the process is expected to be slow, potentially extending past the College Football Playoff national championship game.

What are the NCAA rules regarding sign-stealing?

While NCAA rules do not ban the stealing of signs outright, they do prohibit in-person scouting during the season and the use of electronic equipment to record opponents’ signals.

Has Michigan faced any penalties so far for the alleged sign-stealing?

Michigan has suspended a staff member, Connor Stalions, in relation to the accusations. Additionally, head coach Jim Harbaugh served a school-imposed three-game suspension at the start of the season for unrelated NCAA violations.

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6 comments

AnnArborInsider November 3, 2023 - 2:47 pm

Harbaugh’s suspension at the start now looks like a drop in the ocean compared to this scandal, Michigan’s season could be in jeopardy, and after such a good start too…

Reply
Jenny87 November 3, 2023 - 5:33 pm

i dont get why its such a big deal? teams have been trying to outsmart each other since like forever. this is just gamesmanship no?

Reply
BigTenFanJoe November 3, 2023 - 7:08 pm

Why is the Big Ten dragging their feet? Pettiti should’ve taken action by now, everyone’s watching, waiting and what do we get? More talks…

Reply
SpartanPride November 3, 2023 - 10:00 pm

Michigan always getting the spotlight for the wrong reasons smh, they should’ve been more careful, rules are rules people

Reply
FootbalFanatic November 4, 2023 - 1:38 am

everyones missing the point, it’s not just about the signs. It’s the integrity of the game at stake! the NCAA needs to step up here.

Reply
Mike Tailor November 4, 2023 - 1:53 am

Looks like Michigan’s got itself into a real mess, what’s with the stealing signs thing huh? and that staff member, totally busted…

Reply

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