TCU knew of Michigan’s alleged sign-stealing prior to CFP meeting, used ‘dummy signals’ in game, per reports

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TCU reportedly had knowledge of Michigan’s alleged sign-stealing scheme when the two teams met in the 2022 College Football Playoff semifinal, Yahoo Sports reports. According to the report, the Horned Frogs staff used “dummy signals” in the team’s stunning 51-45 upset win over the Wolverines after they were tipped off to suspicious activity from the Michigan coaching staff.  

An anonymous TCU coach told Yahoo Sports that Sonny Dykes’ staff used outdated play-call signals at various points in the game. TCU players were instructed to ignore the signals and run the plays as originally called. The Horned Frogs, who entered the contest as roughly a touchdown underdog, never trailed in the game. They built a 21-3 lead in the first half before ultimately hanging on for a six-point victory and advancing to the College Football Playoff National Championship against Georgia

“Sometimes we froze a play before the snap,” the coach told Yahoo! Sports. “We’d call a play and then we’d signal in another play with an old signal but we told players to run the original play.”

Suspended Wolverines analyst Connor Stalions allegedly spearheaded an operation that saw more than 30 tickets bought over a three-year period with the purpose of filming and decoding play-call signals. Included were games to a dozen Big Ten venues and four games involving non-Big Ten CFP contenders that Michigan suspected it might face. While sign-stealing itself is not a NCAA violation, in-person scouting and recording of opponents is prohibited. 

TCU, to this point, has not been reported as a school that Michigan allegedly attempted to scout. NCAA enforcement staffers reportedly arrived to Michigan’s campus this week to interview members of Wolverines coach Jim Harbaugh’s coaching staff regarding the alleged activity. 


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