As the NCAA investigates Michigan for a potentially vast and expansive effort to steal signals from upcoming opponents, Colorado coach Deion Sanders offered some context.
"I don’t know how accurate that stuff is," Sanders told reporters on Tuesday, via ESPN.com. "I mean, everybody's trying to get an edge. Everyone's trying to get an edge wherever they can. You can have someone's whole game plan. They could mail it to you. You've still got to stop it."
Right, but the NCAA has prohibited advance scouting. And Michigan apparently was doing just that, with a staffer allegedly/reportedly buying tickets to games of upcoming opponents and then allegedly/reportedly recording coaching signals.
"In football, it's not as pronounced as baseball," Sanders added. "If I know a curveball is coming, I got you. With football, I don't give a darn if you know a sweep is coming, you still got to stop it. . . . It's a physical game. You got to stop it, so that's a little tough. I don't buy into a lot of this stuff that someone's stealing this, stealing that. I don't buy into a lot of that. You still got to play the game."
Still, knowing what's coming provides an edge. Why else would Michigan have done it? (If they did it.) If it adds no benefit, why do it?
In football, knowing what the other team is going to do always provides an advantage. Even if you still have to stop it, it's easier to stop it if you know what it's going to be.
The broader question is whether and to what extent other teams are doing similar things. That's the real issue regarding the Michigan probe. Is Michigan the only one doing it, or is Michigan being selectively targeted because the NCAA doesn't like head coach Jim Harbaugh?