As the investigations into Michigan football and Jim Harbaugh continue, it’s becoming clear that the head coach had no connection.
People who hate Michigan football and head coach Jim Harbaugh have been hoping for some evidence that will tie Jim or the program to Connor Stalions, who is accused of violating the in-person scouting rule, which is a level II violation, in case that wasn’t clear.
Stalions bought tickets and gave them to other people. The NCAA says it has evidence that those people relayed information to Stalions.
It’s still not quite clear, according to the NCAA rulebook, if Stalions broke the in-person scouting rule — because buying tickets for people isn’t a violation. It’s also not a violation for said people using tickets to video information.
Recording is only prohibited during games that you play, meaning Michigan football staff couldn’t record Penn State signs last week during the game and use those recordings to steal signs.
There has been zero evidence of that. There is also zero evidence that Jim Harbaugh knew about the methods that Stalions was using for advanced scouting.
Trying to steal signals isn’t against the rules. Ohio State stole Michigan’s signals — legally it claims — via the All-22 and TV footage. I’m sure information collected over time, playing the same opponent, is also compiled.
Stalions did all those same things for Michigan football, at least that’s what Harbaugh thought he was doing. The job was so important that the Wolverines paid Stalions only $55K.
So even if he was doing it legally, it’s clear Michigan expected to gain a minimal advantage. If Stalions and his work were worth 21 points a game as a nameless Big Ten coach told ESPN, then Stalions would be getting paid a lot more.
However, Jim Harbaugh put out a statement that he wasn’t involved and had no knowledge of the scheme and nothing has contradicted that. John Harbaugh told reporters the NCAA has looked at Jim’s phone and computers.
The AP also reported on Wednesday that a FOIA request showed that Stalions never filed any expense reports during his time with Michigan football. There was a rumor connecting expense reports to Stalions.
Yet, that seems to have been a lie. Most of this has been blown out of proportion. Harbaugh has now been suspended for four games for if proven true, a pair of Level 2 violations.
Bill Self and Kansas had a bunch of Level-1 violations. He served a four-game suspension, which would basically be a one-game suspension in football terms.
So even though the Big Ten said last Friday it had no evidence of Jim Harbaugh being connected to this “plot” by Stalions, even though the NCAA has gone through his devices, and there are no expense reports showing Michigan football paid for the in-person scouting, not Stalions — so it’s hard to know why Harbaugh was suspended.
A low-level analyst might have broken a rule. Harbaugh definitely didn’t know about it, according to all the evidence we have right now, but instead of being treated innocent — he’s assumed guilty and the Big Ten is using the NCAA “head coach responsibility” clause to punish Harbaugh because otherwise, it woud have zero way of justifying it.