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Big Ten coaches frustrated with league’s handling of Michigan: sources

Over the past two weeks, college football coaches have been fascinated by the alleged sign-stealing scheme in Michigan, but within the Big Ten, the subject is more than just a curiosity. During Wednesday’s Big Ten coaches’ video call with Commissioner Tony Petitti, and after Jim Harbaugh left the call, that frustration was expressed loud and clear, according to the conference’s coaches, who said They didn’t feel like the new Big Ten commissioner was “motivated.” do anything regarding the wolverines.

“There’s just a ton of frustration,” one Big Ten coach said. Athleticism Thursday morning. “Look at Jim Harbaugh’s record before this started. The guy was on the hot seat before 2021, and now he’s like the king of college football. …There is no doubt that all of this has had a profound effect.

“This guy is currently under investigation for three different things: (alleged) illegal signal theft, (alleged) illegal recruitment during COVID and this investigation into the offensive coordinator and alleged hacking. There are guys (on this call) who could lose their jobs, and then there’s this guy here (Harbaugh) who’s going to get a new, bigger contract now, and they’re not going to do anything for him.

When asked to describe the tone of coaches’ feelings expressed to Petitti, another Big Ten coach called him “angry” — particularly over the Big Ten’s lack of action, or even its apparent interest in taking it.

“Everyone is upset,” said this coach Athleticism. “Why is nothing being done? We want to know: what else do you need to know to take action? We (Big Ten head coaches) want something done now. I don’t think people understand the benefit that what they (allegedly) do gives you. People think, “Okay, now that everyone knows, we can all move on.” » Like “now it’s right”. Well no, that’s not the case. No way. It changes the way you operate. Many teams have been doing things a certain way for years. Now this requires you to teach your players a whole new way to communicate just for them. People think it’s just advanced screening. It was damn espionage.

A third Big Ten head coach said Athleticism that it was “one of the most egregious violations of the spirit of the game” he had ever heard of.

“They (Michigan) have been manipulating the game and cheating for two and a half years. To know exactly what the other team is doing, Michigan might as well have been playing with 15 guys on the field,” he said. “What is the message the Big Ten is sending now by doing nothing? Win now, pay later? Might as well send people (to monitor) their practices and their matches. This doesn’t encourage anyone to follow the rules. It’s just telling them to do the opposite and saying, fuck it.


Michigan should be punished, say 94% of CFB coaches in our poll. What else did this reveal?

The NCAA is investigating the Michigan football program amid allegations that the Wolverines used illegal in-person scouting and signal recording to steal signs this season. In front of Michigan-Michigan State During the Oct. 21 game, the Big Ten approached MSU and said it was informed of “credible evidence” regarding the sign-stealing allegations. The Big Ten said it would monitor the NCAA’s investigation into Michigan.

“The Big Ten is so much more powerful than the NCAA”, this third Big Ten said the coach. “Why are you sitting around and not doing anything about it?” The Big Ten can’t beat itself up for 30 years about how it does what is ethically right (while other conferences like the SEC won’t) and continue to do so. If this were a team in the bottom half of the Big Ten, would this be treated the same?

“When a running back gets hurt against Michigan because he knew exactly what game was going to happen, will that kid and his family have the ability to sue the Big Ten?”

The NCAA’s investigation is ongoing, a process that generally moves slowly, making it difficult to imagine it will reach a resolution by the time the postseason begins. The Big Ten has the ability to act within its sportsmanship policy, but that doesn’t mean it would want to act quickly or decisively before the NCAA completes its full investigation and gives Michigan a chance to respond to its findings.

This is an unprecedented situation; whatever Petitti decides to do (or not do), it will set a precedent. The Big Ten itself doesn’t have investigators, so it has to rely on the NCAA to do that part — and to determine who else was involved in the alleged reconnaissance scheme. It’s unclear what the coaches would like the league to do to punish Michigan; Banning the team from the Big Ten Championship, for example, would harm players who had nothing to do with the sign-stealing device.

A source briefed on the coaches’ call said Big Ten coaches are debating whether Michigan “should represent the Big Ten.”

“Whatever happens, if Michigan keeps moving forward, the clouds will follow,” the source said. “They read the tea leaves and wonder why the Big Ten hasn’t done anything yet. With each passing week and day, people say, “Something’s got to give.” It gets a little out of hand when you see it (allegedly) on the Central Michigan sideline. The playing field is not level right now. How can you have a team that you know has a competitive advantage over you and still be allowed to play? This is what coaches face.

“It’s like (former commissioner) Kevin (Warren) took over, then COVID,” the source continued. “Tony finds himself in this situation and people are asking the league to make a statement before knowing all the facts.”

Despite frustration on all sides of the conference, sources from four different Big Ten schools said they don’t expect the conference to issue any sanctions against Michigan before the end of the season.

Earlier this week, central Michigan said he was investigating if Michigan staffer Connor Stalions suspended was on the CMU sideline during the Chippewas’ Sept. 1 game at Michigan State. Screenshots of someone resembling Stalions began circulating online Monday evening, and Athleticism got more photos of the person on the sideline Tuesday.

Stalions, who was suspended with pay by Michigan on Oct. 20, is at the center of the NCAA’s investigation into the alleged sign-stealing and reconnaissance scheme. The Stallions have purchased tickets to games at at least seven Big Ten stadiums before those teams face the Wolverines for the past three seasons, including the 2023 season, sources said. Athleticism last month. Purchasing tickets is not a violation of NCAA rules, but using them to scout and record other teams would violate the rules, prohibiting in-person scouting on campus and audio or video recording of signals.

“These are not allegations. It happened,” Purdue coach Ryan Walters said Thursday night his radio show before Saturday’s game against the Wolverines. “There is video evidence. There are ticket purchases and sales that you can trace. We know for a fact that they were present at several of our matches. We had to teach our guys a new language.

Monday, the coach Jim Harbaugh met with journalists and said “the people who know us best think about us the most” as Michigan faces the NCAA investigation. He denied any knowledge of the reconnaissance allegations.

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(Photo: David Berding/Getty Images)

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