NCAA investigating No. 2 Michigan amid sign-stealing …

Jim Harbaugh, the football coach of Michigan, said he would fully cooperate with an NCAA inquiry into the charges against his team and denied any knowledge or involvement in a conspiracy to send personnel to opponents’ games in order to intercept their play-calling signals.

“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 stated in a statement.

Speaking to reporters, Harbaugh said that he and his staff will “fully cooperate with the investigation” and that he “condones or tolerates anyone doing anything illegal or against NCAA rules.”

No. 2 Michigan allegedly sent personnel to watch upcoming opponents’ games as well as potential opponents in the College Football Playoffs in order to obtain knowledge on the signs used to call plays on offense and defense, according to a report published by Yahoo Sports on Thursday.

Tom Mars, the coach’s lawyer, told ESPN that Harbaugh “was just as surprised as anyone else” about the probe.

The NCAA’s inquiry is centered on in-person scouting, a source told ESPN.

The NCAA Bylaw 11.6.1, which reads, “Off-campus, in-person scouting of future opponents (in the same season) is prohibited,” would have been broken if the Wolverines’ claims were accurate.

Athletic director Warde Manuel issued a statement saying, “I want to personally assure you that U-M Athletics will offer its complete cooperation to the NCAA in this matter.” “We at the University of Michigan are dedicated to upholding the greatest moral and ethical standards for each and every one of our community’s members. I have the same standards for all student-athletes, staff members, and coaches.”

The NCAA told the University of Michigan and the Big Ten on Wednesday about the inquiry, and the conference said it had informed the Wolverines’ next opponents.

“The Big Ten Conference considers the integrity of competition to be of utmost importance and will continue to monitor the investigation,” it stated in a statement.

A source informed ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg that Michigan was accused of similar infractions before to the 2022 season, which is also included in the NCAA’s inquiry. After being informed by the NCAA, prospective opponents have not stated that they are opposed to playing Michigan, sources told ESPN.

In his statement, Harbaugh added, “I have no knowledge of anyone on our staff having done that or having directed that action.” “… 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.”

The NCAA, which stated it would not comment on the probe, has bylaws that forbid unsportsmanlike behavior and does not have rules expressly barring stealing signs. However, it does forbid advance scouting of opponents in person.

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