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Report: Michigan sign-stealing operation targeted Tennessee in 2022

The Vols have found their way into the story.

NCAA Football: Michigan at Michigan State Dale Young-USA TODAY Sports

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.

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.

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.