With Michigan football’s sign-stealing drama, where the NCAA has alleged that the Wolverines have surpassed that which is the legal practice into illegal territory, has taken a turn.
According to ESPN’s Pete Thamel, Connor Stalions — the NCAA’s person of interest — has reportedly purchased tickets to more than 30 games of Michigan football’s opponents over the past three years, and he did so in his own name, per the report. Thamel says that ESPN has extensive evidence also of the paper trail and that 11 Big Ten schools have provided proof of the claims.
Connor Stalions, the suspended Michigan staffer at the center of the NCAA’s sign-stealing probe, purchased tickets in his own name for more than 30 games over the past three years at 11 different Big Ten schools, sources at 11 different league schools told ESPN.
The scope of the University of Michigan’s alleged sign-stealing operation includes both video evidence of electronics prohibited by the NCAA to steal signs and a significant paper trail, sources told ESPN. Stalions forwarded the tickets he bought to at least three different people in different areas of the country, sources say, which hints at the breadth of the operation.
The NCAA is expected to receive video evidence this week of illegal technology used in scouting tied to tickets purchased by Stalions, according to sources. An opposing Big Ten school looked up in-stadium surveillance video from a game earlier this year, and sources said the person in the seat of the ticket purchased by Stalions held his smartphone up and appeared to film the home team’s sideline the entire game.
Sources confirmed to ESPN that Stalions purchased tickets on both sides of the stadium — across from each bench — for Ohio State‘s game with Penn State on Saturday. Michigan plays both teams in upcoming weeks. According to sources, the tickets purchased by Stalions were not used Saturday. Stalions’ name emerged publicly in an ESPN story Friday. He was suspended with pay by Michigan.
Stalions has been on staff in some capacity over the past several seasons but was hired full-time just three years ago.
If these allegations are proven, the next step would be discovery of whether or not Michigan football and Jim Harbaugh were aware of this or if Stalions was a lone wolf in this matter. Again, these are allegations, but with 11 Big Ten schools cooperating, it does appear to give some credence to the claims.
Stay tuned, we’ll have more as the story continues to develop.