The Michigan sign-stealing story has made its way to Knoxville. Of course it has.
According to this report from Ross Dellenger of Yahoo Sports, Michigan staffer Connor Stalions bought a ticket to last year’s Tennessee-Kentucky matchup. He quickly transferred it to someone, who took in the game facing the Tennessee sideline.
Dellenger also reports that Michigan had tickets to see Georgia, Alabama, Oregon and Clemson. The Wolverines also had tickets purchased to the last two SEC title games.
Last October, Connor Stalions bought a single ticket to Tennessee’s game vs UK. Three minutes later, he transferred it to a person who attended the game in a seat facing Vols’ sideline.— Ross Dellenger (@RossDellenger) October 24, 2023
Stalions also bought tix to UGA, Bama, CLEM & last 2 SEC title gameshttps://t.co/f3YeTXjRQV
Tennessee, of course, was a potential College Football Playoff opponent for Michigan in 2022. Michigan was clearly prepping for the four-team tournament, where they ended up losing to TCU. Tennessee missed the CFP after an ugly loss to South Carolina.
The sign-stealing scandal broke last week, and the evidence against Michigan is pretty substantial. ESPN reports that Stalions purchased tickets to more than 30 games over the past three seasons, including non Big Ten matchups.
Hilariously, a Tennessee fan posting on VolQuest had this whole story nailed back in the winter.
What’s weirder than the news tonight that the now-suspended Michigan staffer accused of a sign-stealing operation bought tickets to Alabama, Clemson Georgia and Tennessee games in 2022?— Andy Staples (@Andy_Staples) October 25, 2023
A @Volquest_On3 poster dropped the dime on all this in December.https://t.co/7QBvBgTxX6 pic.twitter.com/Hktt97RlCP
While sign stealing isn’t illegal — some would say it’s just doing your homework and it’s up to the opponent to change signs on a weekly basis — the way Michigan did it may be. Per Yahoo, the NCAA rule reads as follows.
NCAA Bylaw 11.6.1: “Off-campus, in-person scouting of future opponents (in the same season) is prohibited,” sources say.
Jim Harbaugh was already suspended for the first three games of this year, stemming from recruiting violations. Now Michigan has this to deal with. Will anything come of it? I’d be surprised if it’s anything substantial. Michigan will keep rolling along, currently set on another collision course with Ohio State for essentially an auto-bid to the CFP.
It just goes to show, if there’s drama anywhere in college football, Tennessee is going to find their way into the story.