ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN - NOVEMBER 04: Head coach Jim Harbaugh of the Michigan Wolverines looks on in the first half while playing the Purdue Boilermakers at Michigan Stadium on November 04, 2023 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
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Michigan's Rivals Collaborated to Steal Their Signals

For the last few weeks, the Michigan Wolverines college football team has been under investigation about an elaborate sign-stealing/scouting operation involving staffer Connor Stalions, but it appears there might be more to this story involving Michigan's fellow Big Ten teams working together to collect Michigan's signs.

According to Sports Illustrated, "Two single-page documents" were obtained by them "listing detailed breakdowns of Michigan's deciphered signals were shared last season with a Big Ten school set to face the Wolverines."

With the allegations coming Michigan's way, Michigan is planning to formally present evidence to NCAA officials indicating that, last season, other Big Ten schools decoded the Wolverines signals and were sharing them.

Sports Illustrated said it received these documents from a "former Big Ten coach at a rival school in recent days forwarded to the Wolverines copies of two single-page documents listing Michigan's deciphered signals."

It said they had three sources with knowledge of the situation.

The former coach was said to have shared the documents with Michigan "in an attempt to show that signal-stealing is pervasive in the sport and to support embattled head coach Jim Harbaugh."

SI says that Big Ten commissioner Tony Petitti could be handing down a suspension soon.

The documents show sections meant to decipher the boards held up by Michigan staffers with images on them. There are signals for Tempo, Run, Pass, PAP/Naked, and a 2020 game.

A lot of the actions corresponding to the signal are redacted, but some are revealed, including the following:

  • Elbow/BB Swing/X/Hand O = Gator/ Hi-Low
  • Piano = Swing Screen
  • Stab/Head = PAP
  • Elbow Slap/Big Wheel = Pap I/S Glances

The full document can be found in Sports Illustrated's report.

SI says that multiple sources confirmed that schools sharing information isn't uncommon and it's not against NCAA rules.

"Every week you call your friends on other staffs and say, 'Hey, what you got [on our next opponent]?'" A Big Ten coach said. "Everyone does it. Who cares?"

While sign-stealing off the television or across the field during games is allowed, the elaborate network Stalions allegedly has isn't. This "network" includes in-person advance scouting and recording upcoming/future opponents.

"Tony told Michigan this was the worst scandal in Big Ten history, not including game-fixing," one Big Ten administrator told SI.

We'll have to see how this alters the investigation, if at all, but either way, Michigan will be taking on Penn State in Week 11 of the college football season.

MORE: Michigan Wolverines Under NCAA Investigation