UF coaches weigh in University of Michigan controversy

Connor Stallions shown carrying a play sheet containing other teams signals. Photo Credits – Yahoo Sports

University of Findlay coaches discuss what the future will look like for the University of Michigan’s Football program

By Mason Alberts, AlbertsM@Findlay.edu

Mention the signal stealing scandal at the University of Michigan and you’re sure to see people line up on either side: “everyone does it” vs “they went too far.”

Many news outlets report a staff member by the name of Connor Stallions, an analyst for the Michigan football program, stole signals from other teams in an elaborate scheme. The allegations date back to the 2022 football season. However, it became publicized early in the 2023 football season. Reports

In college football, everything revolves around the preparation of the team for the next opponent. This involves certain schemes or changes that are made to better suit success against the opponent.  A big part of this scheme is signals; if you know the other teams signals it can allow you to know their game plan from start to finish.

Chad Wagner is the head strength and conditioning coach for the University of Findlay.

“I don’t know that there is another sport where signaling is as important as it is in football,” Wagner said.

This is not the first incident involving University of Michigan football. In the winter of 2021, co-offensive coordinator Matt Weiss was fired for logging into other computer accounts and being able to see others private information from their personal computers, according to CBS News. As well as football staffer at UofM Alex Yood was fired for purchasing alcohol with an underage girl before a game.

But the current situation in Michigan throws the future of head coach Jim Harbaugh into question.

“I have a feeling that you are seeing the end of the Jim Harbaugh era,” Wagner said. “I don’t know if any sanctions will come down or not, but I have a feeling it will be their last season.”

The NCAA and Big Ten Conference are currently both investigating the signal stealing incident involving University of Michigan.

Offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach at UF Kyle Ohradzansky provides the rules breakdown involving signal stealing.

“If they sent people off campus to scout games live, by NCAA rule that is illegal,” Ohradzansky said.

So-called evidence has been thrown out there involving the signal stealing controversy; however, a final decision hasn’t been made due to the ongoing investigation.

“If proven true, the Conference Commissioner is the one who makes the decisions moving forward involving disciplinary actions involving the Big Ten,” Ohradzansky said.

When it comes football, signals determine what the offense or defense is doing for that play. For example, on offense in a signal, players get the formation, play type, blocking schemes and routes receivers run. On defense, players receive formations, coverages, blitz packages and stunts for the defensive line. Knowing the signals of the other team can tell players what their opponent will do before they do it.

Some fans of the maize and blue believe this accusation isn’t true and has only happened since Michigan won many games. Majority of the college football fan base wants disciplinary actions taken against Michigan for “cheating” during most of their games, both past and present seasons.

“Because of the extent the program went to steal the signs of other teams, I believe there should be some type of disciplinary actions given to them,” Wagner said. “How severe the punishment is, I am not sure.”

Michigan finishes out its season with two of its toughest opponents after the firing of Stallions. Michigan will face Ohio State on Nov. 25 and Penn State on Nov. 11. So far, their record is 9-0 and they outscored their opponents 366 to 60.

Regardless of the allegations with signal stealing University of Michigan remains ranked as the third best team in the country behind the University of Georgia and The Ohio State University.