Michigan football analyst Connor Stalions has been suspended as the NCAA investigates an alleged sign-stealing operation by the Wolverines.
Athletic director Warde Manuel announced Stalions’ suspension with pay on Friday, one day after the analyst was identified as a person of interest in the investigation into whether No. 2-ranked Michigan violated an NCAA rule by scouting future opponents in person at games, sources told ESPN. The NCAA prohibited such scouting in 1994.
A source told ESPN that the Wolverines have used an “elaborate” scouting system to steal signals from future opponents since at least 2021. With the ongoing NCAA investigation into Michigan recruiting and coach Jim Harbaugh potentially facing additional penalties stemming from that, this separate investigation could significantly increase his exposure to an additional suspension.
Harbaugh on Thursday denied any knowledge of the alleged scheme to steal opponents’ signals through scouting trips to out-of-town games. He said he would fully cooperate in any investigations and doesn’t “condone or tolerate anyone doing anything illegal or against NCAA rules.”
“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 said in the statement.
Harbaugh served a three-game suspension to start this season related to NCAA charges of failure to cooperate and head-coach responsibility over alleged recruiting violations during the COVID-19 dead period. A violation by a member of his coaching staff could trigger another charge of head-coach responsibility, potentially a Level I violation.
Sources said the NCAA enforcement staff’s level of interest in Stalions was so significant that it sought access to his computer as part of its investigation.
Attempts by ESPN on Thursday to reach Stalions, a retired captain in the U.S. Marine Corps, were not successful. Stalions, a graduate of the United States Naval Academy, was hired as an off-field analyst at Michigan in May 2022, according to a bio on his LinkedIn account. He is making $55,000 per year.
Michigan and the Big Ten were told by the NCAA of the investigation Wednesday, and the conference said it had notified the Wolverines’ future opponents, including Michigan State, which hosts Michigan in East Lansing on Saturday.
Information from ESPN’s Pete Thamel, Mark Schlabach and Adam Rittenberg was used in this report.