Questions continue to mount in the case of Connor Stalions and Michigan
Records requests and TV copy shed some light on the background of Connor Stalions, as Big Ten ADs and coaches pressure commissioner Tony Petitti to take action.
Big Ten athletic directors jumped on a call at 5 p.m ET Thursday. Unlike last Thursday’s AD call, this get-together was not pre-scheduled. Unlike last Thursday’s AD call, multiple school administrators were much more vocal in their desire for Big Ten commissioner Tony Petitti to take action against Michigan amid an NCAA investigation into allegations of sign-stealing with the football program, per a source briefed on the call.
This came on the heels of a Big Ten coaches’ call on Wednesday that became an airing of grievances, with sources telling The Inside Zone that multiple coaches called for action from Petitti toward the Wolverines. (ESPN first reported this.)
Wednesday’s and Thursday’s respective calls were far different from last week’s AD call, which, as reported earlier in this space, was a mostly congenial affair, with Michigan AD Warde Manuel addressing the group in an apologetic tone and Ohio State AD Gene Smith speaking up in support of Manuel and Michigan.
Of course, most ADs had complained privately to each other, and to media members, before and after they faced each other on Zoom. That’s Midwest Nice for you.
One notable difference between last week’s call and this week’s call, aside from the tone: Manuel himself was not on this most recent call, allowing others to speak more freely.
The stakes have been raised in recent days. For one, the scope of the scandal has widened. What started as a potential sign-stealing operation has grown into a possible football espionage case, with Central Michigan investigating the identity of a person who resembles Connor Stalions being spotted on its sidelines for the season-opener at Michigan State. (CMU coach Jim McElwain, who, like many on his staff, once worked for Jim Harbaugh at Michigan, has failed to provide any public clarity beyond a vague postgame statement Tuesday night.)
The unidentified person on the Chippewas’ sideline was wearing a “VB” pass, a visiting bench designation that is in short supply for college football traveling parties. But that might not even be the biggest red flag with the situation.
“The fact that the dude is wearing what everyone on the staff on the sideline is wearing? There is no explaining your way around that,” a former FBS operations director told The Inside Zone.
Here is what is known about tickets purchased under Stalions’ StubHub and SeatGeek accounts, via open records requests to Big Ten public schools (many of which have yet to respond):