The latest accusation in the Michigan sign-stealing scandal is that Michigan football staffer Connor Stalions posed as a Central Michigan staffer during Central Michigan’s game against Michigan State as part of his effort to steal Michigan State’s signs. Central Michigan head coach Jim McElwain is not happy about it.
Central Michigan played on Tuesday night, and McElwain said after the game that if it proves to be true that a photo of an unknown person on Central Michigan’s sideline was Stalions, that represents a major breach of acceptable conduct in college football.
“We obviously are aware of a picture floating around with the sign stealer guy,” McElwain said. “Our people are doing everything they can to get to the bottom of it. We were totally unaware of it. I certainly don’t condone it in any way, shape or form. I do know that his name was on none of the passes that were let out. We keep tracing it back and tracing it back and try to figure it out. It’s in good hands with our people. There’s no place in football for that.”
The latest accusation against Stalions is more damning than previous allegations that he conducted his sign-stealing operations by purchasing tickets to the games of Michigan opponents. That alone would violate NCAA rules, but sneaking onto another team’s sideline to spy on that team’s opponent would be even more serious.
So far there’s been no evidence published that indicates Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh knew what Stalions was up to, but he may find himself in hot water with the NCAA even if he didn’t know, as the NCAA expects head coaches to know what’s going on in their programs and create a culture of compliance with NCAA rules. Having a staffer on another NCAA team’s sideline to spy on yet another NCAA team would be a damning indication that Michigan did not have a culture of compliance with NCAA rules.