The Michigan sign-stealing incident is the quintessential college football scandal, according to Kevin Stefanski. Browns Open Training Camp

WSJ News Exclusive | Michigan Rescinded Contract Offer to Jim Harbaugh  After Sign-Stealing Allegations : r/CFB

Connor Stalions is a genuine individual who exists. It has been reported that he works as a used vacuum cleaner salesperson. “Returning scam vacuum,” was what one disgruntled Amazon customer said about his item.) He also serves as an analyst for the football team at the University of Michigan, or he did. The Big Ten, Michigan’s conference, was notified earlier this fall by the N.C.A.A. that it was looking into allegations that someone at Michigan was “stealing signs,” or figuring out the coded signals that Michigan’s opponents use to talk to players on the field.

They said it was Stalions. He had been purchasing tickets to Michigan’s next opponents’ games, giving them to friends, and presumably asking these friends to lend him iPhone recordings of the signs that the teams carried from the sidelines. Strangely, it is legal to steal signage. However, in order to maintain financial parity, the N.C.A.A. implemented a rule nearly thirty years ago that prohibits in-person scouting of opponents. The largest college football scandal in recent memory has its roots in this.

Major media reporters have been relentlessly seeking the truth, and they continue to do so even as I write this. Stalions was a “person of interest” in the case, according to ESPN. The original evidence was turned over to the N.C.A.A. by a private investigator, as reported by The Washington Post.

The Wall Street Journal was the first to report about the vacuums. Stalions defended himself by stating, “I suspect that whoever has chosen to sue me either 1. doesn’t like the fact that I am a veteran; or 2. is a Michigan State fan and knows I am a Michigan football coach and wants to draw my attention away.” The Journal reported that Stalions had been sued by his homeowners’ association for storing broken vacuums on his front porch. Through a foia request, the Associated Press discovered that Stalions had not submitted any expense reports.

The Athletic was the first to report that Stalions had announced his resignation. ESPN consulted a “nationally recognized facial recognition expert” after Central Michigan revealed that a man who appeared to be Stalions had been seen standing on its own team’s sideline during the Chippewas’ season opener against Michigan State. The expert examined the image and determined that the man was “highly likely” to be Stalions. The sports website Defector pointed out that Stalions used a public Venmo account to pay his associates, that he purchased the tickets to his opponents’ games under his own name, and that it’s odd that he goes by “Connor Stalions.”

It’s humorous. It’s funny the whole thing! It’s easy to understand why everyone has been itching to discuss it. Unlike the many previous controversies in the game, this one is the epitome of a college football controversy. There are no kids injured. There has been no brain damage. Families from underprivileged areas have not been taken advantage of. There has been no theft of money.

Not a single racial slur has been used. There has been no hazing of freshmen. No female has experienced abuse. Aside from a few more hilarious details, the story basically says that someone wore sunglasses and a polo shirt and snuck onto Central Michigan’s sideline to get a hint about when Michigan State will blitz. Other details include conspiracy theories involving the brothers of Ohio State coach Ryan Day (who also goes by his real name) and double agents. He goes by Connor Stalions. (A request for comment from his attorney was not answered.)

And things improve. Stalions were preparing. Growing up, he was an avid admirer of Michigan and was eager, if not equipped, to lead the Wolverines as their coach. According to reports, Stalions was accepted to the University of Michigan, but after researching the careers of successful football coaches, he concluded that a service school would be a better fit for him. He then proceeded to the Naval Academy, where he assisted the football squad as a volunteer student assistant. He continued to talk about Michigan constantly even there. He was volunteering with the Michigan football team prior to finishing his commitment to the Navy. He was already pilfering signs for Michigan by 2019. Richard Johnson recently found out for Sports Illustrated that he boasted about it to a friend in a text message two years ago, which is how we know this. Johnson stated, “Stalions claimed to have a Google document, containing a blueprint for the Wolverines’ future, between 550 and 600 pages long, that he managed daily.” “He called the document ‘the Michigan Manifesto,’ describing it more as a movement than a plan.”

The Big Ten banned Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh for three games in order to atone for the Stalions’ transgressions. Harbaugh is the epitome of the Michigan Man—a living, talking manifesto. He played quarterback for Michigan, where his father was an assistant coach, and he has been the head coach since 2015. As one of the first large program coaches to advocate for player compensation, Harbaugh is an outspoken moralist and, in some ways, a progressive whose confidence stems from his conviction in the status quo.

“Attack this day with enthusiasm unknown to mankind,” he says. Football is “the last bastion of toughness in America in men,” according to him. He frequently uses lines from Teddy Roosevelt. (On occasion, he cites Rudyard Kipling and credits Teddy Roosevelt with the quote.) Roosevelt’s passion of public service, indefatigability, embrace of a hard life, and fear of weakness are all traits that Harbaugh possesses.

Additionally, he has a sense of humor. His voice was hoarse when he spoke at a press conference on Monday, but he denied being ill. He jokingly said, “I’m the iron wall that viruses bash against and shatter,” and vowed to eat an apple and perform more pushups. (His teammates claim that after shouting at the TV since he was unable to attend the game, he lost his voice.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *