Jim Harbaugh’s potential return to the NFL is gaining momentum.
According to Brendan Quinn of TheAthletic.com, the Big Ten Conference has accumulated “credible evidence” that the Michigan football team has been stealing signals from opposing coaches throughout the 2023 season.
Michigan State received a warning about the situation on Wednesday, prior to their game against Michigan on Saturday. Concerned about the health and safety of their players, Michigan State contemplated not playing the game. However, they later decided to proceed with the game.
The Big Ten has informed Michigan that an investigation is underway. However, they have not yet presented Michigan with any evidence.
“Late Wednesday afternoon, the NCAA notified the Big Ten Conference and the University of Michigan that it was investigating allegations of sign stealing by the Michigan football program,” said the Big Ten in a statement released on Thursday. “The Big Ten considers the integrity of competition to be of utmost importance and will closely monitor the investigation. We will not provide further comment at this time.”
Allegedly, Michigan has been using an elaborate network to steal signs. While in-game sign stealing is not prohibited (unless it involves electronic methods), Yahoo.com reports that the allegations involve off-campus scouting of future opponents. Surprisingly, this is prohibited by NCAA bylaws.
The prohibition of off-campus scouting of future opponents has been in effect since 1994, implemented to save money. Money that could be used for other purposes, such as compensating players.
It remains to be seen what consequences Michigan and Harbaugh will face. Harbaugh has already been suspended for three games this year due to alleged recruiting violations during the pandemic and his alleged dishonesty with NCAA investigators.
In 2022, Harbaugh interviewed with the Vikings, and in 2023, he interviewed with the Broncos. This latest incident could be the final push for him to return to the NFL.
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