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Report: ‘Vast Majority’ of Big Ten Football Coaches Want Michigan Punished

ANN ARBOR, MI - SEPTEMBER 23: Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh catches passes before the college men’s football game between the Rutgers Scarlet Knights and the Michigan Wolverines on September 23, 2023 at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, MI. (Photo by Bob Kupbens/Icon Sportswire)

Most of the Big Ten’s coaches want Michigan football punished for its alleged illegal sign-stealing methods, ESPN’s Pete Thamel reported late Wednesday night.

These coaches expressed their feelings in a conference call with first-year Big Ten commissioner Tony Petitti.

“Collectively,” a source told ESPN, “the coaches want the Big Ten to act.”

ESPN reported that the call took nearly 90 minutes and more than an hour of that time was spent without Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh. After the coaches discussed regularly-scheduled topics, Harbaugh hung up so Petitti and the rest of the coaches could talk about the Michigan scandal.

ESPN also wrote that sources described the call as “intense” and “emotional.”

Here’s an excerpt from ESPN’s story.

“Coaches used words like “tainted,” “fraudulent” and “unprecedented” on the call to describe Michigan’s signal-stealing scheme, as has been alleged. Much of the call, according to sources, was coaches explaining to Petitti both how it worked and how it impacted them and their programs. Both in-person opponent scouting and using electronic equipment to steal signals are not allowed by NCAA rules.

The ongoing story continues to add layers. A recent development is the theory that the person alleged to be at the center of all this, suspended Michigan staffer Connor Stalions, went undercover during the Week 1 game between Central Michigan and Michigan State. Central Michigan coach Jim McElwain addressed the matter Tuesday night, referring to Stalions as “the sign-stealer guy” and saying CMU was unaware of what was going on and doesn’t condone it.

Stalions is also reported to have purchased tickets to Penn State-Ohio State Oct. 21, but the tickets went unused. The day before that game, which became a 20-12 OSU win, Stalions was suspended for his alleged role.

It’s unconfirmed where Penn State coach James Franklin stands on possible punishment for Michigan football, but his team does play UM in less than two weeks.

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