Former Michigan linebackers coach Chris Partridge denied knowledge of the sign-stealing scandal surrounding the Wolverines program, according to a statement released on Monday. Partridge also refuted a previous report that he destroyed evidence after the NCAA's ongoing investigation became public. Partridge was from coach Michigan's staff earlier on Nov. 17 -- one day after coach Jim Harbaugh was issued a three-game suspension by the Big Ten.
"I want to be clear: I had no knowledge whatsoever of any in-person or illegal scouting, or illegal sign stealing," Partridge wrote. "Additionally, at no point did I destroy any evidence related to an ongoing investigation. As explained to me by Michigan Athletic Director Warde Manuel in person on the morning of November 17, 2023, and as set forth in my termination letter of the same date, signed by Doug Gnodtke, Michigan Athletics Chief of Staff, I was terminated because of a failure 'to abide by the University directive not to discuss an ongoing NCAA investigation with anyone associated with the Michigan Football Program.'"
Michigan did not disclose specifics of Partridge's dismissal but stressed its commitment to "seeking due process and allowing the NCAA to conduct a fair and deliberate investigation." Partridge was in the first season of his second stint at Michigan, where he served in various roles under Harbaugh from 2015-19. Past roles with the Wolverines for Partridge included special teams coordinator from 2016-19, linebackers coach 2016-17 and safeties coach from 2018-19.
Allegations of illegal advanced scouting by Michigan, an effort spearheaded by ex-Wolverines staffer Connor Stalions, prompted the Big Ten to suspend Harbaugh for the team's final three games of the regular season on the basis that Michigan violated the league's sportsmanship policy. The Wolverines went 3-0 during Harbaugh's absence to complete an undefeated season and clinch a spot in the Big Ten Championship Game against Iowa on Saturday, Dec. 2.