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College Football

The Connor Stalions Affair Now Features A Double Agent

11:46 AM EST on November 7, 2023

College Football: Ohio State Julian Fleming (4) in action, runs with the football vs Michigan at Ohio Stadium. Football analyst Connor Stalions and head coach Jim Harbaugh present in the background. Columbus, Ohio, November 26, 2022. In this photo edit, Stalion has been made black and white.
David E. Klutho/Sports Illustrated via Getty Images | edits by Defector

I'll admit it: When news of Michigan's alleged sign-stealing operation broke a few weeks ago, I figured that the funniest thing that was going to come out of the saga was the fact that a guy named Connor Stalions was involved. How wrong I was! Ever since the world became aware of Stalions, we have learned about his hilariously analog surveillance methods, the existence of his 600-page "Michigan Manifesto," his teenage foray into football blogging, and his possible appearance—in disguise!—on the CMU sideline. Now, with Stalions cast out and Michigan under investigation by both the Big Ten and the NCAA, we have another delicious twist in the tale: a double-cross!

With the conference bearing down on Michigan and potentially lining up punishment, the Wolverines have been left to scramble to mount a defense. According to a new report from the Associated Press, that defense now includes an agent from the other side flipping his allegiance in order to protect Jim Harbaugh's football program. The AP says it has spoken to a "former employee at a Big Ten football program" whose job was to spy on Michigan the same way Stalions is alleged to have spied on the Wolverines' opponents. This person claims to have evidence proving that other Big Ten teams colluded to steal Michigan's signs, and that he has turned that evidence over to Michigan. From the report:

The employee said he shared with Michigan the documents, which showed the Wolverines’ signs and corresponding plays, after his school faced the Jim Harbaugh-led program in 2022.

The person also passed along screenshots of text-message exchanges with staffers from a handful of Big Ten football teams with Michigan, giving the program proof that other conference teams were colluding to steal signs from the Wolverines.

He said he gave the additional details to Michigan last week because he hoped it would help Harbaugh’s embattled program, adding he believes the head coach and his assistants are being unfairly blamed for the actions of a rogue staffer.

AP

If what this guy says is true, then it would at least allow Michigan to arm itself with a "Wahhh! You can't get mad at us when everyone else is doing it, too! Wahhh!" defense in its meetings with Big Ten investigators. This testimony also raises some important questions: Which school was this guy working for? Was he part of a larger intelligence network that was colluding against Michigan? Why did he flip? Who got to him?

I think it's pretty clear what happened here. Michigan's rivals really thought they could come after the Connor Stalions and not suffer any consequences, and we are now witnessing the beginning of them being disabused of that notion. Stalions must have been onto this guy the whole time. Any signs he stole from Michigan were signs that Stalions wanted him to steal, and now he's under Stalions's thumb. If this guy ever wants to see his family again, he better continue defending the good names of Jim Harbaugh and Michigan football.

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