Michigan apparently has been caught with a hand in the sign-stealing cookie jar. One defense to the charges could be to shout, “Hey, look over there!”
Via ESPN.com, Michigan believes three other schools shared intelligence about the Wolverines’ signals during the 2022 season. Michigan has sent documents to the Big Ten supposedly proving the claim.
Michigan, coached by former 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, believes that Ohio State gave Michigan’s offensive signals and Rutgers gave Michigan’s defensive signals to Purdue prior to last year’s Big Ten championship game.
It’s currently unknown, per ESPN, whether signal sharing among conference foes violates the Big Ten’s sportsmanship policy or any NCAA rules. Michigan is currently under investigation for violating the NCAA policy against advance scouting, a cost-saving measure that dates back to 1994. Other member schools want the Big Ten to take action against Michigan sooner than later.
Per ESPN.com, the Big Ten’s sportsmanship policy explains that the conference “expects all contests involving a member institution to be conducted without compromise to any fundamental element of sportsmanship. Such fundamental elements include integrity of the competition, civility toward all, and respect, particularly toward opponents and officials.” That’s very broad, and vague.
Michigan is obviously trying to muddy the waters through “whataboutism,” a common tool in the political realm for diverting attention from criticism by pointing to others who should be criticized, too. Given the ambiguous nature of the Big Ten’s sportsmanship policy, it just might work.
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