NCAA Investigating Allegations of Sign-Stealing by Michigan Football

From an AP story by Ralph D. Russo headlined “NCAA investigating allegations of sign-stealing by Michigan. Harbaugh denies knowledge,involvement”:

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh denied any knowledge or involvement in plotting to steal opponents’ play-calling signals by sending representatives to their games and said he would fully cooperate with an NCAA investigation into the allegations against his program.

“I do not have any knowledge or information regarding the University of Michigan football program illegally stealing signals, nor have I directed any staff member or others to participate in an off-campus scouting assignment,” Harbaugh said. “I have no awareness of anyone on our staff having done that or having directed that action.”

The Big Ten also announced it had been informed of the investigation. But the conference provided no further details, only to say that it had notified Michigan’s upcoming opponents.

The second-ranked Wolverines (7-0), who started their season with Harbaugh serving a university-imposed three-game suspension for a still unresolved NCAA infractions case, play at Michigan State on Saturday.

“I want to personally assure you that U-M Athletics will offer its complete cooperation to the NCAA in this matter,” Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel said Thursday. “At the University of Michigan, all of us are committed to the highest standards of ethics and integrity for all members of our community. This is the same expectation I have of all coaches, staff, and student-athletes.”

Michigan is coming off two straight playoff appearances under Harbaugh and is currently tied with No. 1 Georgia as the odds-on favorite to win the national title, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

The NCAA does not have rules specifically against stealing signs, but it does prohibit in-person advanced scouting of opponents and using electronic equipment to record an opponents’ signals. There are also bylaws prohibiting unsportsmanlike or unethical activities.

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