I feel like the Michigan Wolverines have a bit of a target on their back as the second-ranked team in the country, especially since head coach Jim Harbaugh got suspended three games for trivial recruiting violations.
Now comes news that the Wolverines are being investigated by the NCAA for off-campus, in-person scouting of future opponents, which has allegedly helped them steal signs from opponents.
Breaking: The NCAA is investigating the Michigan Wolverines' football program amid allegations of sign stealing, the Big Ten Conference said Thursday.
Rutgers squared off against Michigan in late September and got smoked 31-7 in Ann Arbor. Not a surprise, to be sure, but Scarlet Knights coach Greg Schiano gave a halftime interview that sure sounds suspicious in retrospect.
“There’s some stuff going on out there so we just gotta slow it down a little bit. There’s some things going on that aren’t right as well, so we’ll talk about how to handle it.”
First of all, I think it’s kind of stupid that you can’t go scout future opponents in-person at the collegiate level. You get advance game film of them, which to me, is a lot easier to digest. Although I suppose the existence of said footage would provide the luxury of exclusively looking at an impending adversary’s signals.
Is it really undermining the integrity of the game, or the epitome of poor sportsmanship to steal signs? Or is it the inferior team’s fault for not adjusting said signs every single week to avert that scenario altogether?
Whatever the case may be, this is yet another unsavory PR situation for Michigan football. The last thing the Wolverines want is for their legitimacy to be called into question. They’re legitimate national championship contenders and are a virtual lock to make the College Football Playoff.
More on this potential fiasco from Yahoo! Sports‘ original report:, which cites “unnamed individuals” and not necessarily Michigan staffers as the in-person scouts:
“Teams are normally provided extensive video footage to scout opponents. At issue, according to sources, is whether Michigan used unnamed individuals to attend games of both scheduled opponents and possible College Football Playoff opponents in an effort to gather information on the signs they use to call both offensive and defensive plays.”
Yahoo! reported, too, that two opponents became aware that the Wolverines had stolen their signs this season. You’d have to assume Rutgers was one of them.
With the amount of talent Harbaugh has brought to his alma mater, where’s the need to cheat against the likes of Rutgers? It’s not like the Scarlet Knights are a bunch of world beaters and former 5-star recruits. They just went 4-8 last year and have to be thrilled to be in contention for a bowl bid.
Then again, is it really cheating, or naïveté on Rutgers’ part for not changing their signs? It’ll be fascinating to see what the NCAA’s investigation unearths. If there are allegations that attended games in-person, that’s pretty easy to check/difficult for said attendees to refute.
The battle for the Paul Bunyan Trophy between Michigan and Michigan State in East Lansing on Saturday just got a bit spicier, I’ll say that.
BREAKING: The Big Ten has approached Michigan State with what it described as “credible evidence” that Michigan has successfully stolen signs by opposing teams this season, sources confirm to The Athletic.