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Sources reveal Michigan has decoded and shared signs from Purdue, Ohio State, and Rutgers teams

According to a source at the university, Michigan has reported that staff members at Ohio State, Rutgers, and Purdue shared information about the Wolverines’ signals before the 2022 Big Ten Championship Game to both the Big Ten and the NCAA, as confirmed by Athletic writers Austin Meek, Bruce Feldman, and Nicole Auerbach.

The disclosure was prompted by documents obtained by The Athletic and other media outlets that matched Michigan’s signals to specific plays, such as “elbow slap” and “throat slash” with plays like outside zone and play-action passes. The documents were first discovered by Michigan after their victory over Purdue in the previous season’s Big Ten Championship Game. Michigan has used this information to argue that other schools conspired to steal and share their signals, potentially facing discipline from the Big Ten over its own sign-stealing and scouting scandal.

The documents were sent to Michigan by a Purdue staff member who indicated that the information came from Rutgers and Ohio State. The individual responsible for sending the documents claimed that sharing signals among friends at other programs was common and was motivated by support for previous colleagues on Jim Harbaugh’s staff. The ongoing scandal has led to league-wide conversations in the Big Ten, with the potential for Michigan to be penalized before the NCAA investigation concludes, as reported by The Athletic.

The disclosure has forced Big Ten commissioner Tony Petitti to consider how deeply to wade into the shadowy world of sign-stealing, with an emphasis on the ethical gray areas involved. The ongoing investigation will determine whether the information-sharing constitutes a violation of the Big Ten’s sportsmanship policy, as Michigan has argued that collaborating to share information about the Wolverines’ signals violates core principles of integrity and respect.

While officials at Ohio State have not responded to requests for comment, other sources within the Big Ten have confirmed that trading information about signals is common practice among teams in the conference. The ongoing investigation has sparked debates about the extent to which this underground system of information sharing affected the outcome of games, with differing opinions on the ethical implications.

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