Many college football fans are probably tired of hearing about sign-stealing. No matter how guilty Michigan was, or perhaps to a degree was not, the prevailing opinion is that the practice is common in college football. Should that worry Alabama football fans? Maybe it should, but based on Nick Saban's comment on Monday, the GOAT is not concerned.
Going back more than a year, multiple Big Ten coaches have believed Michigan was good at stealing signs. Michigan fans defending Jim Harbaugh are correct that technically it is not illegal to steal signs during a game. It is, however, a violation of an NCAA rule to have a member of a team's staff attend an opponent's game before the two teams play each other.
One Big Ten coach has been particularly vocal about what Michigan has done. Purdue coach Ryan Walters spoke out.
"It’s unfortunate. What’s crazy is they aren’t allegations. It happened ...There’s video evidence. There’s ticket purchases and sales that you can track back. We know for a fact that they were at a number of our games."- The Herald Bulletin
The juiciest part of the saga is that TCU was warned about Michigan stealing signs in advance of its Playoff game against the Wolverines last year. According to Ross Dellenger of Yahoo Sports TCU used "dummy signals to dupe the Wolverines."
The University of Michigan labored hard to deflect what many knew a Michigan staffer had done. Those wanting to accept the Michigan claim that Jim Harbaugh had no idea what Connor Stalions did, must ignore the magnitude of Stalions effort. As reported by Yahoo,
"Connor Stalions, purchased tickets to more than 40 college football games in an effort to record opponents’ signals in what has been unearthed as an elaborate, three-year scheme"- Ross Dellenger
That Stalions would have spent so much time and money to aid the Michigan team - and not share his information with the Michigan coaching staff is inconceivable. Some of Michigan's coaches who likely used the information Stalions provided may have shielded Harbaugh to maintain the head coach's deniability. Though a head coach being so oblivious would have been tantamount to incompetence.
Alabama Football Will Adjust
Nick Saban is right to say little about the matter. The Alabama Football team will have fully safeguarded its signal system in advance of the Rose Bowl. Maybe, as some have suggested, Saban's hiring of former Michigan coach, George Helow was a safeguard against more antics by the Wolverines.
Will the Crimson Tide use decoy signs as did TCU last year? Perhaps doing so makes sense, but a hunch is sign stealing has long been a threat and even before Michigan was called out, Nick Saban had a plan to counter it.