Sunday, July 21, 2024

Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh denies knowledge of alleged sign stealing, vows to cooperate with NCAA investigation

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Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh released a statement on social media denying any knowledge of his staff illegally stealing signs from opponents. It came just hours after the Big Ten confirmed an NCAA investigation into the program following allegations of illegal in-game scouting. While the Wolverines coach was adamant in his denial, he also vowed to fully cooperate with the NCAA investigation.  

“I want to make it clear that I, and my staff, will fully cooperate with the investigation into this matter,” Harbaugh said. “I do not have any knowledge or information regarding the University of Michigan football program illegally stealing signals, nor have I directed staff members or others to participate in an off-campus scouting assignment. I have no awareness of anyone on our staff having done that or having directed that action. 

“I do not condone or tolerate anyone doing anything illegal or against the NCAA rules. No matter what program or organization that I have led throughout my career, my instructions and awareness of how we scout opponents have always been firmly within the rules. Pursuant to NCAA rules, I will not be able to comment further while this investigation takes place.”

The NCAA’s investigation comes after two 2023 Michigan opponents told Yahoo Sports the Wolverines were able to crack their in-game signals. Michigan is a perfect 7-0 and sits at No. 2 in the AP rankings as it prepares to visit Michigan State in Week 8. The NCAA is also looking into similar incidents involving the Wolverines that allegedly occurred prior to 2022, ESPN reports. While sign-stealing alone is not an NCAA violation, NCAA Bylaw 11.6.1 states that “off-campus, in-person scouting of future opponents (in the same season) is prohibited.”

It isn’t the first time that the Wolverines have encountered trouble with the college sports governing body this year. Harbaugh served a school-imposed three-game suspension to start the season after he was accused of misleading a NCAA investigators regarding accusations of impermissible recruiting and coaching during the COVID-19 dead period.

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