University of Michigan recruiting analyst Connor Stalions has resigned amid an investigation into his alleged in-person scouting, according to a statement from the school
Stalions was previously suspended with pay as the investigation continued. Earlier on Friday evening, multiple outlets and reports said that he had been fired.
But the university released a statement late Friday night saying, ‘Connor Stalions resigned his position with Michigan Athletics this afternoon. We are unable to comment further regarding this personnel matter.
Later on Friday evening, Stalions himself provided a statement to The Athletic which read, ‘I love the University of Michigan and its football program. And I am extremely grateful for the opportunity I’ve had to work with the incredible student athletes, coach Harbaugh and the other coaches that have been a part of the Michigan football family during my tenure
‘I do not want to be a distraction from what I hope to be a championship run for the team, and I will continue to cheer them on.’
Connor Stalions has been fired by Michigan amid an in-person scouting investigation
Stalions was initially suspended by Michigan with pay as the NCAA began the investigation
Stalions’ attorney, Brad Beckworth, said that his client was ‘thankful that the University corrected that false narrative tonight’ – referencing those early reports that he had been fired.
‘As he informed the school earlier today, Connor chose to resign because recent stories regarding his time with the University of Michigan have created a distraction for the team,’ Beckworth said.
‘He hopes his resignation will help the team and coaching staff focus on tomorrow’s game and the remainder of the season. Connor also wants to make it clear that, to his knowledge, neither Coach Harbaugh, nor any other coach or staff member, told anyone to break any rules or were aware of improper conduct regarding the recent allegations of advanced scouting.’
Sources told Nicole Auerbach of The Athletic that Stalions ‘refused to cooperate with any internal or external investigations or discussions.’
The staffer has been seen on the sidelines of multiple Michigan Wolverines football games throughout this season.
Multiple schools in the Big Ten have said they found that Stalions had purchased tickets to at least one of their games in the past three seasons in his name. One of those schools has uncovered security camera footage of him recording what was happening on the field with his cell phone.
NCAA rules do not directly ban the stealing of signs, but there are rules against using electronic equipment to record an opponent´s signals. One NCAA bylaw also bans ‘off-campus, in-person scouting of future opponents (in the same season).’
There are also rules against unsportsmanlike or unethical activities by coaches, and head coaches are generally considered to be responsible for violations that occur under their watch.
Stalions allegedly refused to cooperate with any internal or external investigations or talks
‘[Stalions] spearheads the operation,’ a coach told Yahoo in October. ‘I once told (Stalions), ‘We know what kind of s–t you are doing and it’s f**ked up.”
Just days ago, footage appeared of someone appearing to match images of Stalions standing on the sideline of a game between Michigan State and Central Michigan. The person believed to be Stalions was seen wearing a goatee, sunglasses, and Central Michigan apparel.
That led to CMU football coach Jim McElwain addressing the issue, saying, ‘Our people are doing everything they can to get to the bottom of it. We’re unaware, totally unaware of it.
‘I certainly don’t condone it in any way, shape, or form. And I do know that his name was on none of the passes that were let out.’
X and Instagram accounts–that were deleted as the investigation unfolded– confirmed Stalions’ graduation from the US Naval Academy in 2017 and the work he does with linebackers.
Meanwhile an inactive LinkedIn profile, with the title ‘football analyst – University of Michigan’, contained lines that trailed towards his allegation.
‘I focus on using my experience to employ Marine Corps philosophies and tactics into the sport of football regarding strategies in staffing, recruiting, scouting, intelligence, planning and more,’ the LinkedIn page read.
‘I emphasize … identifying the opponent’s most likely course of action and most dangerous course of action; identifying and exploiting critical vulnerabilities and centers of gravity in the opponent scouting process…’
Before joining the Michigan staff, Stalions worked as a military captain after graduating in 2017
Michigan head football coach Jim Harbaugh denied the allegations towards Stalions around the time they were revealed in mid-October.
‘I have no awareness of anyone on our staff having done that or having directed that action,’ Harbaugh told ESPN.
‘No matter what program or organization that I have led throughout my career, my instructions and awareness of how we scout opponents have always been firmly within the rules.’
Harbaugh served a three-game, university-imposed suspension earlier this season for an unrelated and still unresolved NCAA violations case tied to recruiting.