The Michigan sign-stealing scandal keeps getting weirder and weirder.
Multiple outlets reported on Tuesday that Central Michigan currently is investigating whether Michigan staffer Connor Stalions was present on its sideline for the September 1 season opener against Michigan State, a future Michigan opponent. A man resembling Stalions can be seen in CMU gear while standing alongside several of the team’s coaches. He was wearing a bench credential in photos from the FS1 broadcast.
“We are in the process of determining the facts surrounding them,” CMU athletic director Amy Folan said in a statement, via ESPN.com. “As this process is ongoing, we have no further comment at this time.”
This is a new twist in an investigation that previously consisted of reports that Stalions had bought tickets to games involving future Michigan opponents. For the first time, Stalions has been placed on a sideline facing the sideline of an upcoming Michigan opponent.
There’s no suggestion that Stalions was recording video of the Michigan State sideline. That would have been a little too conspicuous.
So if he wasn’t recording, why was he there? (If he was there.) He would have been making mental notes, at best, of the things he saw straight across the field.
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh has denied any knowledge of the alleged sign-stealing operation. Under NCAA bylaws, that won’t matter; he’s responsible for everything that happens within the program.
The investigation has prompted speculation that Harbaugh will leave Michigan for the NFL, where he coached the 49ers from 2011 through 2014. The NFL recently has suggested in an item on the website it owns and operates that Harbaugh might be suspended by the NFL, if he tries to return to pro football.
Harbaugh interviewed with the Vikings in 2022, and with the Broncos in 2023.