ESPN — Connor Stalions, the suspended Michigan staffer at the center of the NCAA's sign-stealing probe, purchased tickets in his own name for more than 30 games over the past three years at 11 different Big Ten schools, sources at 11 different league schools told ESPN.
The scope of the University of Michigan's alleged sign-stealing operation includes both video evidence of electronics prohibited by the NCAA to steal signs and a significant paper trail, sources told ESPN. Stalions forwarded the tickets he bought to at least three different people in different areas of the country, sources say, which hints at the breadth of the operation.
The NCAA is expected to receive video evidence this week of illegal technology used in scouting tied to tickets purchased by Stalions, according to sources. An opposing Big Ten school looked up in-stadium surveillance video from a game earlier this year, and sources said the person in the seat of the ticket purchased by Stalions held his smartphone up and appeared to film the home team's sideline the entire game.
Sources confirmed to ESPN that Stalions purchased tickets on both sides of the stadium -- across from each bench -- for Ohio State's game with Penn State on Saturday. Michigan plays both teams in upcoming weeks. According to sources, the tickets purchased by Stalions were not used Saturday. Stalions' name emerged publicly in an ESPN story Friday. He was suspended with pay by Michigan.
None of the tickets that the 11 schools told ESPN about involved Michigan as an opponent, per sources. The games involved either one or both of the teams that the Wolverines were playing later that season, according to sources.
We have a new report on how Michigan has allegedly been stealing opponents’ signs and the extent of the operation. Connor Stalions was buying tickets for games across the Big Ten — sometimes on both sidelines of upcoming Wolverines opponents — that just happened to always have people sitting in them who had a penchant for filming. Maybe he's just a really generous guy whose friends are addicted to posting on their Instagram stories.
I honestly don’t even really care if or to what extent Michigan has been cheating, I’m just astounded at the level of stupidity to have a staffer buying tickets with his own credit card and forwarding them to people in his name. There are high school kids who take a greater level of care to post things on burner social media accounts than this guy was taking with a scheme being run by one of the biggest brands in college football.
Sources indicated that Stalions forwarded tickets to at least three other individuals, with the ticket transfer showing up through ticket data tracking. Those tickets were used by individuals other than Stalions to get into the game, including the one in the video the NCAA is expected to receive.
Stalions often purchased the tickets with his own credit card, according to sources.
Maybe this guy is just the world's biggest Big Ten football fan and he loves helping out others who can't afford tickets to go to games. And if you're attending the only game you'll get to see in person for many years, obviously you're going to do a lot of filming to remember that experience. Stalions could be the linchpin in one of the great cheating scandals in college football history or an incredibly kind philanthropist. Let's not rush to judgment.