For the past two-plus weeks, all we’ve heard in the national media is screeching about how Michigan football went above and beyond and that the harshest punishment of the law should come down on the Wolverines.
Talk about hyperbole.
It was revealed this week, initially via Associated Press, and then by John U. Bacon (followed by numerous outlets) that Rutgers and Ohio State allegedly conspired to give Purdue all of the Wolverines’ signals. With the two different scenarios — Michigan vs. Rutgers and Ohio State — it’s a crime without a distinction, except maybe the letter of the law.
Yahoo Sports’ Dan Wetzel delved into the mess on both sides in his newsletter. Though he did not absolve Michigan, he noted that what the other schools did is perhaps worse, even if it’s not against the letter of the law.
The Michigan sign-stealing controversy has taken a new turn, and now three other Big Ten schools have found themselves in the spotlight alongside the Wolverines.
At Michigan, Connor Stalions allegedly ran a smash-and-grab sign-stealing operation. Ohio State, Rutgers and Purdue, meanwhile, were reportedly operating the equivalent of a criminal conspiracy. It was pure white-collar stuff.
In the end, they both stole, or participated in the stealing of, the same thing — information on opponents’ play signals in an effort to secure an advantage.
It’s just that one was a ski mask bank robbery. The other was an inside job, cleanly wiring the money to the Caribbean.
Forget all the noise. Forget the grandstanding coaches screaming for Jim Harbaugh’s head. Forget if Michigan deserves all the scorn.
Forget even what or when the punishments should be.
Whatever it is, just make it even, because the actions of Connor Stalions and the actions that Ohio State, Rutgers and Purdue allegedly engaged in are the exact same thing.
Yes, the exact same thing.
Wetzel continued, really hammering home his point.
Which would you rather have? Raw cell phone footage that still needs to be broken down, or highly experienced coaches just handing over their work?
Everyone would choose the Purdue option.
Even if Ohio State and Rutgers acquired Michigan signs via NCAA-legal game film or during game action, it doesn’t matter. Purdue didn’t do that work. The Boilermakers received stolen signs from advanced scouting. They cheated as much as Michigan.
Additionally, the Purdue person receiving the advanced scouting work was almost assuredly, at the very least, an assistant coach. The NCAA investigation, sources say, hasn’t found any proof anyone in Ann Arbor knew how Stalions became so good at deciphering signs. He apparently hid his act.
So why is the NCAA aggressively investigating Michigan but not Purdue and the others? Why is the Big Ten threatening to suspend Harbaugh indefinitely but doesn’t seem to care about anyone else?
The whole story is worth a read.