What to make of latest on NCAA allegations against Michigan football

Michigan end zone pylon during of U-M's 30-3 win on Saturday, Sept. 2, 2023, at Michigan Stadium.
Michigan end zone pylon during of U-M's 30-3 win on Saturday, Sept. 2, 2023, at Michigan Stadium. /

The latest report from Pete Thamel says that Connor Stalions did buy tickets for other Big Ten games and here’s what it means for Michigan football.

Michigan football fans have been waiting for the other shoe to drop and it started on Monday as Pete Thamel of ESPN put out a report detailing the efforts of Connor Stalions to buy tickets and have others to go games of Michigan opponents.

According to the report, Stalions, a Michigan football analyst currently on suspension with pay, bought tickets from 11 different Big Ten schools that were opponents of the Wolverines.

Stalions didn’t attend the games but according to the report, he had others do that. There is even the suggestion that a school has video evidence of one of the people recording the sideline, although I think that will be tough to prove unless the video is on Stalions computer.

There’s no question that’s a bad look. This scheme also wasn’t necessary. Ohio State said it changed its signals ahead of the 2022 game and Michigan football won 45-23. Michigan State didn’t use signals on Saturday night and got beat 49-0.

Even an NCAA working group back in 2014 said this about these rules while considering their elimination:

"“The regulations governing scouting of opponents are not of national significance. The widespread availability of video would suggest minimal competitive advantage would be gained from in-person scouting and would be offset by the coach’s diversion from other coaching responsibilities”"

Anyone can have access to the All-22, along with TV. In-person scouting might be the best way to steal signs, but the NCAA doesn’t have proof that a Michigan staffer did attend games.

I get that it’s sort of a gray area, but I’m not sure what Stalions did is actually against NCAA rules. People are talking about electronic equipment, but that’s in-game. Yes, there is a rule against in-person scouting but technically no rule against recording signals there.

It sounds to me like Stalions wanted to be great at his job and went above and beyond, without authorization, to do that. I don’t see the Michigan football program giving the go-ahead for this or knowing about it.

It’s silly is one reason. It didn’t need to be done. To be fair, a Baylor assistant coach was hit with in-game scouting and received a half-game suspension and some recruiting restrictions.

So even though it’s being reported as some sort of major violation, it’s not. It’s definitely a gray area and there are lots of facts to be sorted out, even to prove in-person scouting by an affiliate.

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Even if you acknowledge or prove that they did scout at the direction of Stalions, I still don’t believe we are talking about the breaking of a second NCAA rule and unless the NCAA is out to punish Michigan football, which we all know they are, this should be a minor infraction.