NCAA Launches Investigation into Michigan’s Alleged Sign Stealing

Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh.

The NCAA has once again turned its investigative gaze towards the University of Michigan’s football program. This time, the inquiry revolves around allegations that Michigan stole game signs from their opponents.

The allegations came to light after a report by Yahoo Sports’ Ross Dellenger and Dan Wetzel revealed that two of Michigan’s adversaries this season informed Yahoo Sports of their suspicion. They believed that the Wolverines somehow became privy to their play signs. The heart of the matter is not simply the act of sign stealing but the methodology employed.

While sign stealing in itself does not breach NCAA guidelines, employing electronic equipment in-game to convey the information to players or coaches is strictly off-limits. The 2023 NCAA football rule book touches upon this under the section titled “Prohibited Field Equipment”. It explicitly mentions that recording signals, whether audio or video, given by an opposing side’s player, coach, or team personnel, is strictly forbidden. Notably, the rule book does not prescribe any penalties for such actions.

The investigation zeroes in on NCAA Bylaw 11.6.1. This rule outlaws “off-campus, in-person scouting of future opponents (in the same season).” In clearer terms, while teams can prepare for future opponents, they cannot send representatives to scout these opponents in person during the same season.

The dynamic between the NCAA and Michigan has garnered attention, not just because of the allegations but due to the manner in which the news surfaces. Critics have pointed out that the NCAA often leaks information to the media without furnishing the complete context. This is further exacerbated by the fact that Michigan, like all institutions under investigation, is not permitted to comment on the ongoing inquiry. This creates an imbalance in the narrative, with the NCAA able to steer the discourse largely unchallenged.

Given the historical tensions between institutions and the NCAA, it’s hardly surprising that many view the NCAA’s actions as less than commendable. As investigations unfold, Michigan supporters and college football enthusiasts alike will be watching closely, awaiting clarity on the allegations and the NCAA’s approach in this matter.

Stay up to date on all Michigan Football and Michigan Basketball content! Follow Wolverine Chronicle on X, Youtube, Tik Tok, Facebook, and Instagram!