What’s Up With Michigan Men And Manifestos?
Things aren't looking good for Michigan football and Connor Stalions, the recruiting analyst at the center of the Wolverines' sign-stealing and illegal scouting scandal.
Stalions, whom Michigan suspended with pay a day after news of the scandal broke, allegedly purchased tickets in his own name to more than 30 games at 11 Big Ten schools since the beginning of the 2021 season, according to a bombshell report from ESPN. Sources also told ESPN that people sitting in the seats Stalions bought can be seen on stadium surveillance footage recording both sidelines via smartphone throughout durations of games.
The Washington Post reported Wednesday evening that the NCAA investigation into allegations against Michigan was prompted by the findings of an independent third-party firm hired to look into the Wolverines' scouting practices.
The sign-stealing investigation threatening to disrupt Michigan’s football season began after an outside investigative firm approached the NCAA with documents and videos the firm said it had obtained from computer drives maintained and accessed by multiple Michigan coaches, according to two people familiar with the matter, evidence that suggests the scandal’s impact could broaden beyond the suspension of one low-level assistant.
These people spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak about an ongoing NCAA investigation. They did not disclose who hired the outside firm that approached the NCAA. The NCAA, the Big Ten and Michigan declined to comment.
The outside firm’s investigation began this season, these people said, and involved interviews with people knowledgeable about Michigan football’s scouting operations, as well as reviewing documents and videos related to sign-stealing efforts. Last Tuesday, these people said, this firm presented its evidence to top NCAA officials. The next day, the Big Ten later confirmed, the NCAA informed both the conference and Michigan that it had opened an investigation.
But perhaps the oddest development so far is that Stalions kept a several-hundred-page living document detailing his practices, plans, and vision for Michigan football.
Sports Illustrated reports Stalions, in communications with a student who asked him for advice on breaking into the college coaching ranks, bragged about the sign-stealing methods he and U-M are currently under investigation for. Stalions also referenced the aforementioned mega-document, which he called, "the Michigan Manifesto."
Stalions claimed to have a Google document between 550 and 600 pages long that he managed daily, containing a blueprint for the Wolverines’ future. He referred the document as a movement more than a plan, dubbing it “the Michigan Manifesto.”
The situation surrounding Michigan football is already really bad, despite what their fans — both in the public and in the media — say. But now there's a manifesto involved? Not good. When's the last time you heard the term "manifesto" used in anything other than a foreboding context?
It is remarkably on-brand for Michigan, though. After all, several renown U-M alumni are known to have authored manifestos. Take Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber, for example.
Kaczynski, who earned master's and doctoral degrees in mathematics at Michigan in the 1960s, infamously penned "Industrial Society and Its Future," a furious screed against technology that ultimately laid the groundwork for Kaczynski's nearly-20-year mail bomb campaign.
There's also the case of H.H. Holmes, who's widely considered to be America's first serial killer. Holmes, an 1884 graduate of U-M's Department of Medicine and Surgery, confessed to murdering 27 people, many of which took place at his so-called "Murder Castle." He chronicled his heinous history in a book, "Holmes' own story, in which the alleged multi-murderer and arch conspirator tells of the twenty-two tragic deaths and disappearances in which he is said to be implicated."
Stalions is just the latest Michigan Man to incriminate himself through copious self-dictation. How could someone be so arrogant as to personally keep a paper trail of their misdeeds? I think we all know the answer to that question...
It's the Michigan Difference™!