Some key questions in the NCAA’s probe into Michigan, Connor Stalions
Separating fact from myth when it comes to seeing what happens next with the case of Michigan's alleged sign-stealing operation.
The Michigan sign-stealing saga took another turn this week with ESPN reporting that suspended staffer Connor Stalions bought tickets to more than 30 games at 11 different Big Ten campuses across the past three years.
This has led to more questions, and assumptions, about the potential scope of the Wolverines’ alleged sign-stealing operations.
Let’s examine them.
1. Who is Connor Stalions?
Stalions is reportedly a person of interest in the NCAA’s probe into Michigan’s alleged rules violations related to sign stealing. The school suspended him Friday with pay after ESPN identified him as “one of the linchpins” in the investigation.
Officially, Stalions joined the Michigan staff as an analyst in 2022. The son of Michigan alumni, Stalions stated on his since-deleted LinkedIn account that he had previously been a volunteer assistant with the Wolverines since 2015. He had written on the account that he was skilled at "identifying the opponent's most likely course of action and most dangerous course of action" and "identifying and exploiting critical vulnerabilities and centers of gravity in the opponent scouting process."
Stalions, who is 28 years old, attended the Naval Academy and was a student assistant with the Midshipmen football team from 2013 to 2016 before becoming a Marine Corps officer. Stationed at Camp Pendleton in California, Stalions was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in 2017. He retired as a Marine Corps Captain in 2022 before joining the Wolverines’ staff full-time.
A representative for the Michigan middle school that employs both of Stalions’ parents declined a request to speak with them.
2. Why is Stalions drawing the ire of the NCAA and the public?
Once the ESPN story about alleged ticket purchases landed Monday, the Internet was quick to dig up a number of potentially incriminating documents.
One Twitter/X account showed that Stalions’ Venmo page produced a pattern of “t-shirt” orders and, more alarmingly, showed a payment to Chase Evans — the same name of a Michigan recruiting intern at the time — with the note “GA.” That payment date was Dec. 30, 2022, one day before Georgia played Ohio State in the College Football Playoff semifinals. The Bulldogs would have been Michigan’s opponent in the national title game had the Wolverines beaten TCU in the other semifinal.