Did Michigan Illegally Scout Minnesota Before 52-10 Romping; Does it Matter?

NCAA Football: Michigan at Minnesota
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

So, it was reported by Yahoo Sports, late Thursday morning, that the University of Michigan Wolverines are being investigated by the NCAA for“violating rules that prohibit teams from scouting, in person, future opponents”.

Michigan Wolverines accused of illegally scouting plays and signs of 2023 opponents

According to the report, Jim Harbaugh is being accused by two different Big Ten opponents of sending“unnamed individuals to attend games of both scheduled opponents and possible College Football Playoff opponents in an effort to gather information on the signs they use to call both offensive and defensive plays”.

“Late Wednesday afternoon, the Big Ten Conference and University of Michigan were notified by the NCAA that the NCAA was investigating allegations of sign stealing by the University of Michigan football program.”

“The Big Ten Conference has notified Michigan State University and future opponents. The Big Ten Conference considers the integrity of competition to be of utmost importance and will continue to monitor the investigation. The Conference will have no further comment at this time.”

Big Ten Statement

If true, this would be one of the biggest cheating scandals in college football history, which could mean significant punishment for Harbaugh and the Michigan football program. More on that momentarily.

First, let’s touch on what we know about this scandal, as it pertains to the Minnesota Gophers, who the Wolverines slaughtered two weeks ago at Huntington Bank Stadium, 52-10.

Related: Gophers Darius Taylor Expected to Play vs Iowa

Did Michigan illegally scout Minnesota Gophers?

The Pioneer Press’ Andy Greder, who covers the Gopher football beat (among a few others) for St. Paul’s historic newspaper, reached out to Big Ten officials, who would not confirm nor deny whether or not the Gophers were one of the two teams who helped launch their investigation against Michigan.

A Big Ten spokesman declined to provide more details to the Pioneer Press on whether the Gophers were one of two teams mentioned in the Yahoo report.

Andy Greder – Pioneer Press

If indeed the inquiring teams were previous 2023 opponents, which is how the report reads, then there’s a 33% chance (2/6) it was PJ Fleck & Co who contacted the NCAA.

Who helped launch Michigan investigation probably won’t matter

Whether it was Minnesota, who logged the complaint against Michigan, or not, is irrelevant to the possible ramifications. If the Wolverines are found guilty of stealing signs illegally, I can absolutely see a world where the Gophers’ 52-10 loss is flipped to a win, due to Michigan forfeit.

As of now, there are no reports of the possible punishments Michigan could be facing, should they be found guilty of cheating. But, these are very serious allegations. It’s worth noting that, when these scandals normally arise, the investigations take place after it is too late to rectify the alleged wrong.

In this case, that is not true. Should the NCAA investigation confirm that Michigan cheated their way to 6-0, to start the 2023 season, it would not surprise me if all six of Michigan’s 2023 wins are nullified and they are barred from postseason play for a number of years.

For the 3-3 (1-2) Gophers, that would mean their 52-10 loss on October 7 would cease to officially exist. The L that currently displays on their 2023 win/loss record, would be flipped to a W and their record improved to 4-2 (2-1).

michigan illegally scout minnesota investigation football michigan wolverines minnesota gophers jim harbaugh
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

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An official record correction like that would launch Minnesota right back into the conversation for Big Ten West champs, should they go into Kinnick this weekend and defeat the (6-1) Iowa Hawkeyes. Kirk Ferentz & Co’s only loss on the season is vs Penn State and they do not have Michigan on their schedule in 2023.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan

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