The latest development coming from the suspended Michigan Wolverines football staff member at the center of a sign-stealing investigation has him purchasing tickets to more than 30 games at 11 different Big Ten schools over the past three seasons, according to a media report.
ESPN has learned that Connor Stalions, who was suspended with pay by Michigan, purchased the tickets and sent them to at least three different people in different parts of the country.
The tickets purchased by the Stallions were as recent as last week’s game between Ohio State and Penn State, although ESPN reports the tickets were not used Saturday.
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The NCAA should also obtain video evidence that people occupying the seats purchased by the Stallions used illegal recognition technology; an opposing Big Ten school used stadium video surveillance to see a person sitting in the seat using a smartphone positioned on the home team’s sideline for the duration of the game.
Michigan was never the opponent in the game where tickets were purchased by the Stalions, sources told ESPN. However, tickets were purchased for games where the opponents played Michigan later in the season, with the seating position “somewhere around the 45-yard line and raised high enough for a clear view of the opposite sideline “.
Michigan suspended football analyst amid NCAA investigation into alleged sign theft
“The Big Ten Conference considers the integrity of competition to be of the utmost importance. Due to the ongoing nature of the NCAA’s investigation, the conference is not commenting at this time,” the league said Monday. in a statement, according to ESPN.
The Stalions were suspended with pay a day after the NCAA launched an investigation into allegations of sign-stealing, announced by athletic director Warde Manuel. Stalions is an off-field analyst for the football team, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Yahoo Sports initially reported that Michigan was sending people to scheduled team games to gather information about the signs used to call offensive and defensive plays.
“I want to make it clear that I and my staff will fully cooperate in the investigation of this matter,” Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh said Friday. “I have no knowledge or information regarding illegal signal theft by the University of Michigan football program and have not asked any staff member or others to participate in an off-campus scouting mission.”
Harbaugh added: “I am not aware of any member of our staff having done this or ordered this action. I do not condone or condone anyone doing anything illegal or against NCAA rules. Regardless whatever program or organization I have led throughout my career, my instructions and knowledge of how we seek out our adversaries have always been firmly within the rules.”
Michigan has already faced NCAA discipline this season, with Harbaugh serving a self-imposed three-game suspension amid an investigation into prohibited contact with recruits.
With this investigation underway, these allegations could be added to the mix, which could result in harsher sanctions for Harbaugh and the program depending on how the investigation concludes.
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The Wolverines are No. 2 on the AP Top 25 poll with the Purdue Boilermakers on the schedule Nov. 4 in Ann Arbor.