TCU Used “Dummy Signals” To Thwart Michigan Sign-Stealing During CFP

TCU reportedly used “dummy signals” to counter sign-stealing by Michigan during their College Football Playoff matchup earlier this year. According to sources who spoke with Yahoo!, TCU received calls in the run-up to their Fiesta Bowl game against Michigan, informing them that Michigan had likely stolen their play-calling signs. “Sometimes we froze a play before the snap. 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,” one TCU coach told the outlet about how they countered the potential leak.

The news came out amid the unfolding situation at Michigan. The university suspended eight-year employee Connor Stalions due to an NCAA investigation into sign-stealing. Stalions had reportedly bought tickets to over 40 NCAA games over the last three years and attended the games to illegally record the play-calling signs of upcoming and potential Michigan opponents. While the NCAA does not specifically prohibit sign-stealing, both in-person scouting of future opponents and the electronic recording of play-calling signs are both banned.

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More Trouble For Michigan

TCU coaches learned from other staffs about Michigan’s “elaborate” sign-stealing before the CFP semifinal.

TCU changed signs but used “dummy” (old) signs to trick the Wolverines, coaches tell @YahooSports. TCU players were told to ignore the dummy signs.

— Ross Dellenger (@RossDellenger) October 26, 2023

The sign-stealing scandal is just one of three investigations currently occurring at Michigan. Coach Jim Harbaugh is still under investigation for recruiting violations that occurred during the COVID-19 dead period in 2020. Harbaugh served a three-game suspension to begin the season and rulings on further infractions are expected next year. However, it remains to be seen just how extensive knowledge of the sign-stealing scheme was.

Meanwhile, the FBI was reportedly at the school’s Ann Arbor campus earlier this week as part of a third investigation. Very little information into the firing of assistant coach Matt Weiss has been released since it happened earlier this year. However, Weiss was fired over “unauthorized computer access crimes” that occurred at Michigan’s athletics facilities. However, UoM Deputy Police Chief Melissa Overton told ESPN the investigation, which now involves the FBI, is “extensive, ongoing and is of the utmost priority. Furthermore, Overton noted that it covered multiple states.

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