The NCAA is investigating Michigan’s football program amid alleged rule violations relating to sign-stealing, the Big Ten Conference announced Thursday.
Michigan and the Big Ten were both notified by the NCAA of the probe on Wednesday. The conference said in a statement that it notified the remaining opponents on the schedule for the second-ranked Wolverines (7-0, 4-0), including Saturday’s foe Michigan State (2-4, 0-3).
“The Big Ten Conference considers the integrity of competition to be of utmost importance and will continue to monitor the investigation,” it said in a statement.
Michigan also released a statement.
“The university is fully cooperating with the Big Ten and NCAA,” the university said. “… At the University of Michigan, we are committed to the highest ethical and integrity standards for all members of our community.”
Yahoo Sports reported that two of Michigan’s opponents became aware that the Wolverines knew their play signs. The Detroit Free Press said Michigan allegedly sent “scouts” to attend games to gather information on the signs opponents use for specific play calls.
Scouting opponents is not illegal in the eyes of the NCAA, albeit with one major exception. NCAA Bylaw 11.6.1 reads as follows: “Off-campus, in-person scouting of future opponents (in the same season) is prohibited.”
Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh served a university-imposed three-game suspension to start the season for alleged Level II NCAA violations related to impermissible recruiting and coaching during the COVID-19 dead period.
–Field Level Media