Michigan Sends Lengthy Response To Big Ten Ahead Of Sign-Stealing Ruling
The University of Michigan reportedly sent a ten-page response to the Big Ten Conference Wednesday, arguing that officials need to respect due process ahead of likely disciplinary action. The Wolverines have been accused of illegally stealing opponents’ signs ahead of scheduled matchups.
“We remain steadfast in our conviction that due process matters,” a Michigan spokesperson told ESPN. “Like all members of the Big Ten Conference, we are entitled to a fair, deliberate and thoughtful process to determine the full set of facts before judgment is made. We continue to fully cooperate with the NCAA and the Big Ten regarding this matter.”
Though the response has not yet been released to the public, Michigan seems to be arguing that Big Ten Commissioner Tony Petitti would be breaking protocols by issuing “penalties” at this point.
Petitti and the conference are rumored to be announcing their ruling at some point this week, which could include fines and suspensions for head coach Jim Harbaugh and other staff members. Players are not expected to be punished.
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The conference first began investigating Michigan in September after photos surfaced of low-level Wolverines staffer Connor Stalions at a Central Michigan game early in the season. Other Michigan opponents soon discovered that Stalions had bought tickets to their games as well and attempted to take video of their sidelines. Stalions was suspended by Michigan after the scandal broke and has since resigned.
The Big Ten does not have any rules specifically forbidding teams from stealing their opponents’ signs, but the NCAA has had rules in place forbidding advanced scouting for years.
Michigan’s practices, if proven true, would be in clear violation of those rules, which forbid team personnel from attending opponents’ games ahead of matchups.
In a statement released in October, Harbaugh denied having any knowledge of the allegations made against the program.
“I do not have any knowledge or information regarding the University of Michigan football program illegally stealing signals, nor have I directed any staff member or others to participate in an off-campus scouting assignment,” Harbaugh said.
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