The coach, who withheld his name for privacy reasons, claims he attended three different Big Ten games (two at Penn State and one at Rutgers) over the last two seasons to record signals. The footage of the signs were shared to an iPhone photo album. He says he unaware if anyone other than Stalions accessed the footage. In addition to complimentary tickets, he claims he received "a couple hundred dollars" for his services.
"I didn't like it, but it's a gray line," he told ESPN. "You can call me naive, but no one is reading the bylaws. I'm not a contractual lawyer. ...I just felt like if you're not doing it, you're not trying to get ahead."
The university suspended Stalions after he bought tickets for more than 30 games at 12 of the possible 13 Big Ten stadiums and four tickets to games featuring out-of-conference College Football Playoff contenders over a three-year period, according to ESPN.
At issue is NCAA Bylaw 11.6.1: "Off-campus, in-person scouting of future opponents (in the same season) is prohibited." Sign-stealing itself is not technically against the rules unless it involves electronic equipment to record and inform players or coaches of signals during games. Teams are given access to a great deal of film in advance of matchups in order to scout the on-field football product.
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh has denied knowledge of any attempt to steal opponent signs and will cooperate with the NCAA investigation, he said in a statement. Harbaugh is already embroiled in a battle with the NCAA over separate Level II violations for which he is accused misleading investigators.
The NCAA's investigation into Michigan for sign-stealing is a rapidly-developing story and CBS Sports is covering it in real time. Click here for live coverage.