Nicole Auerbach, Austin Meek, Katie Strong and Bruce Feldman
University of Michigan employee Connor Stallions has resigned, a school spokesman said Friday. He has refused to cooperate with any internal or external inquiries or discussions, a school source said Athletic.
The Stallions, who were initially suspended with pay by Michigan on Oct. 20, are a scout and sign-stealing program at the center of the NCAA’s investigation. Sources said the Stallions bought tickets to games at at least seven Big Ten stadiums before those teams played the Wolverines over the past three seasons, including the 2023 season. Athletic Earlier this month. Buying the tickets is not a violation of NCAA rules, but using them to scout and record other teams would violate rules prohibiting in-person, on-campus scouting and audio or video recording of signals.
said the Stallions’ attorney, Brad Peckworth of Nix Patterson Athletic Conner said earlier reports that the Stallions had been fired on Friday were false, and “thanks the university for correcting that false narrative tonight.”
“As he informed the school earlier today, Connor chose to resign because recent stories regarding his time with the University of Michigan have created a distraction for the team,” Beckworth said. “He hopes his resignation will help the team and coaches focus on tomorrow’s game and the rest of the season. Connor also wants to clarify that to his knowledge, Coach Harbaugh or any other coach or staff member has not asked anyone to break any rules or know of any misconduct related to the recent allegations about advanced scouting. .
In his own statement issued to AthleticStallions said, “I love the University of Michigan and its football program.”
“I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to work with the incredible student-athletes, coach Harbaugh and other coaches who have been a part of the Michigan football family during my tenure,” the Stallions said. “I don’t want to detract from what I believe is a championship run for the team, and I will continue to cheer for them.”
Friday’s news comes days after screenshots of a man who looks like the Stallions started circulating online Monday night on the Central Michigan sideline during the team’s game against Michigan State. Athletic On Tuesday it obtained additional photos of the man on the sideline, and CMU announced that it will investigate whether the Stallions were indeed sidelined in CMU uniforms during the Sept. 1 game against the Spartans. If the man on the CMU sideline is indeed the Stallions, this is the first known instance of him attending a Michigan opponent’s game in person weeks before the opponent plays the Wolverines.
CMU coach Jim McElwain said Tuesday night after CMU’s game against Northern Illinois: “We obviously have a picture floating around with the guy stealing the pass. “Our guys are doing everything they can to get to the bottom of it. We don’t know that at all. I certainly don’t condone it in any way, shape or form. I know his name is not on any of the published passes. We’re trying to reinvent it and rediscover it. It is in good hands with our people. Again, football has no place for that.
Frustration within the Big Ten conference has been mounting in the days and weeks since the initial NCAA investigation into Michigan broke down. Both the league’s coaches and athletic directors met with Big Ten Commissioner Tony Pettitte this week to urge Pettitte to take action against the Wolverines. Pettitte has the ability to impose punishment under the Big Ten’s sportsmanship policy, but he previously told administrators and coaches he wanted to let the investigative process play out, giving Michigan a chance to respond to the NCAA’s findings.
Officials at 13 other Big Ten schools believe Pettitte has enough information — tickets purchased for games at the Stallions’ Big Ten opponents’ stadiums and in-stadium surveillance footage showing people in those seats filming on the sidelines — to act now.
“The crazy thing is, those aren’t allegations. It happened. There’s video evidence,” Purdue coach Ryan Walters said on his radio show Thursday. Our comrades had to be taught a new language.
The Boilermakers face the Wolverines on Saturday night.
(Photo: Rich Greisle/ICON Sportswire via Getty Images)