Oct 31, 2023 - News

Michigan's football scandal, explained

A Michigan football player evades tackles from the OSU Buckeyes.

The Buckeyes had a tough time keeping up with Michigan in last year's rivalry game. Now we're wondering if the Wolverines had help. Photo: Ben Jackson/Getty Images

That Team Up North has a lot more than the undefeated Buckeyes to worry about.

What's happening: The Michigan Wolverines face an NCAA investigation for allegedly stealing the play signs of opposing teams.

Why it matters: The purported cheating adds even more fuel to the OSU-Michigan rivalry.

  • Buckeyes fans will likely say this helps explain the team's recent losses to Michigan after years of domination.

Catch up quick: Teams use visual clues to rapidly communicate play calls and opponents can attempt to read those signs from across the field.

  • But the NCAA rule book prohibits "off-campus, in-person scouting of future opponents" and using electronic equipment to record those signals.

Details: Michigan football staffer Connor Stalions is accused of buying tickets to opponents' games for the purpose of filming teams' sidelines, ESPN reports.

  • This includes tickets purchased on both sides of Ohio Stadium for the Oct. 21 game against Penn State, though they were not used.
  • Michigan plays both teams in November.

Zoom in: Stalions was on the field during last year's OSU-Michigan game and at one point was filmed by WBNS-TV looking toward the OSU sidelines before a play.

What they're saying: Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh denies any knowledge or involvement.

  • He served a three-game suspension earlier this season for unrelated recruiting infractions.
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