Ahead of their big in-state rivalry game vs. the Michigan State Spartans, the Michigan Wolverines find themselves in hot water once again with the NCAA. After seeing head coach Jim Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Sherrone Moore serve suspensions to start the season for failing to cooperate with the NCAA over some hamburgers, apparently they have been stealing signs from the opposition.
Ross Dellenger and Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports dropped this bombshell of a story on Thursday afternoon. The NCAA is investigating the Michigan program yet again, this time "for allegedly violating rules that prohibit teams from scouting, in person, future opponents." Off-campus and in-person scouting has been against the rules since it was outlawed way back in 1994. This is massive.
Here is the official statement the Big Ten Conference sent out Thursday about this Michigan scandal.
"Late Wednesday afternoon, the Big Ten Conference and University of Michigan were notified by the NCAA that the NCAA was investigating allegations of sign stealing by the University of Michigan football program. The Big Ten Conference has notified Michigan State University and future opponents. The Big Ten Conference considers the integrity of competition to be of utmost importance and will continue to monitor the investigation. The Conference will have no further comment at this time."
With No. 2 Michigan 6-0 and well on its way towards a third-straight Big Ten Championship and College Football Playoff appearance, this puts Harbaugh and his program under great scrutiny. With at least three teams on Michigan's schedule expressing sign-stealing concerns, as well as Harbaugh slated to garner as massive contract extension, there is so much to unpack from these allegations.
Michigan and Jim Harbaugh are under fire again ... for sign-stealing?!
At this point in time, you have to wonder what comes next for the hamburglars. All beef patty jokes aside, if this proves to be true, this is a horrendous look for Harbaugh and the Michigan football program. Not since the peak Lloyd Carr years have the Wolverines been this consistently good on the football field. They were horrific during the 2020 COVID season. Then, everything flipped for them...
Not to say that this has been going on that long, but you have to wonder. While this may be a rivalry game between the juggernaut Wolverines and the absolutely listless Spartans, maybe now is the time to be all-in on Dan Campbell's frickin' Detroit Lions, man? Sparty bringing up concerns about Michigan's ethics is one thing, but when multiple schools are saying the same thing, that is troubling.
Overall, if Michigan is found guilty of this with irrefutable evidence, that may be all she wrote for Harbaugh leading his alma mater's program. As with the Astros' scandal in baseball, stealing signs is not illegal per se, although it is greatly frowned up. If you can do it, keep it a secret and do not tell anyone. But if you are breaking the rules with trash cans or in-person scouting, you will be crucified.
Ultimately, this does make you wonder how legitimate of a run the Wolverines have been on for the last three seasons. I mean, this team is good. They are immensely talented. But just like the 2017 Astros, you have to question if the Wolverines' Big Ten Championships and playoff appearances are now tainted or bastardized. Either way, this latest scandal puts a big red target onto Michigan's back.
Hamburgers are one thing, but this is a totally different beast. This could get really, really ugly...