If you have been living under a rock for the past week-plus, then perhaps you missed what’s going on in Ann Arbor. But more likely than not, you’re well aware that Michigan football is being accused, quite publicly, of alleged illegal sign stealing.
The NCAA has started investigating but hasn’t issued a notice of allegations at this juncture. On Fox Sports radio earlier this week, former Notre Dame quarterback and Fox analyst Brady Quinn chimed in to discuss the overall case.
“There’s a few interesting thoughts to this. The first being how far up does it go?” Quinn said. “As the NCAA does its investigation, Stalions has been suspended with pay by the way, pending the outcome of the investigation based on these accusations. But I’m kind of curious as to the timing of why now? Who’s the whistleblower to all this? Is this just the teams they played against? It feels like this has been known for a while at least as you read into it.
“And on top of it, after everything that happened earlier this year were based on the recruiting violations that were committed by Michigan during the COVID dead period, Harbaugh and Michigan they take basically that of self-suspension, or self-punishment, in hopes of that this upcoming spring-summer, the NCAA won’t tag on anything in addition to that. But because of how difficult Harbaugh was to deal with during that investigation, it seems like there’s something else going on here with the NCAA — either have a bone to pick or maybe there was someone within that was able to bring this to light to start to provide a lot of these details even though a lot of schools that had already known it was going on.”
So was Michigan alone in this practice or is it a bit more prevalent than many are leading on?
Quinn assures that it’s a common practice in college football, but he has a simple, obvious solution should the sport want to deter from the practice of sign stealing.
“So here’s why I get skeptical of it: other teams do this, alright, they just haven’t been caught,” Quinn said. “Sign stealing has gone on forever. You want me to give you the simple solution all this? Yeah. Coach-to-quarterback — do it exactly they do in the NFL. There you have it. You have you speak into the helmet, tell the quarterback what the play is. You speak into the helmets of the linebacker, whoever is on defense what the defense is — done, done. You don’t have to worry about it. This is now a non-issue if you want to get rid of it.
“So all they have to do is make that subtle change. This is never an issue for any teams, whatever moving forward. No idea why the NCAA wouldn’t put or implement a rule like this.”
The issue at hand is, of course, more than sign stealing, but Quinn warns rival fans to beware when it comes to throwing stones from glass houses — there may be similar unsavory practices happening on your campus, as well.
“But besides that point, OK, there’s other schools with teams that do this. And clearly, they’re just maybe better getting away with it, but it feels like for a guy with a background that Connor Stalions has, as a very reputable decoder, that he would have been so sloppy with how he did this,” Quinn said. “I mean, he’s got his name in buying some of these tickets to opposing schools, right? I mean, I’ll just put it this way. Like we’ve all got friends who have gambled before it was legal to gamble. And not many of them were using their real name, whether it’s an offshore book or whatever their account they’ve got. Is that fair to say? Am I elaborating? So why would you think then that a guy who is the guy supposed to be the steal signals at Michigan, why would you think then that he’s going to use his name and be so, I guess, putting himself at risk or out there like that, knowing what he was doing was illegal? The whole thing seems really fishy. Every little piece of it.
“And I know there’s probably Ohio State fans that are like, ‘Oh, it’s Michigan they cheat!’ Well, be careful. Be careful now. All right, I’m just telling you a lot of coaches that I’ve talked to don’t want to talk about it, or make any public accusations for a reason — for a reason. And anyone who’s out there that says,’ Oh this doesn’t go on. It’s just Michigan,’ they’re lying to you or they’re ignorant to how the game of football is today — at least at the college level.”
"Anyone out there that is saying this doesn't go on anywhere else and it just happens in Michigan, they're lying to you, or they are ignorant to how the game of football is played today at least at the college level."
— FOX Sports Radio (@FoxSportsRadio) October 24, 2023