Clemson Football and the Mystery of the Stolen Signs

Nov 26, 2022; Clemson, SC, USA; Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney, left, and South Carolina head coach Shane Beamer talk before the game at Memorial Stadium in Clemson, S.C. Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022. Mandatory Credit: Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 26, 2022; Clemson, SC, USA; Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney, left, and South Carolina head coach Shane Beamer talk before the game at Memorial Stadium in Clemson, S.C. Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022. Mandatory Credit: Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports /
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Michigan analyst Connor Stalions, left, next to coach Jim Harbaugh during Michigan’s 31-7 win over Rutgers, Sept. 23, 2023 at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor.
Michigan analyst Connor Stalions, left, next to coach Jim Harbaugh during Michigan’s 31-7 win over Rutgers, Sept. 23, 2023 at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor. /

Is there a legitimate source for the rumor about Michigan giving South Carolina defensive signs?

The first step for determining if a story is legitimate in the age of social media is to check the main sources for news. I started with ESPN. I found NCAA enforcement staff will be on campus in Ann Arbor this week, and that the FBI is investigating a former Michigan staffer in a case unrelated to Stalions.

ESPN did mention that the NCAA hasn’t closed the previous case that resulted in Jim Harbaugh being suspended for the first three games of this season too. No mention of Stalions supplying signs to other schools, but the conclusion reached here is that Michigan is a complete mess right now.

Yahoo Sports posted similar information, plus another story about a source indicating that TCU knew about Michigan’s shenanigans.

This wasn’t some guy standing on the sidelines. Yahoo’s source was a TCU coach.

However, no information about Michigan giving the information to another program. Same on Fox Sports.

Following a little bit of digging, it looks like the source of these rumors was John Brice of FootballScoop. Most of the post reviewed the information posted by the Washington Post, however, Brice includes this tidbit of unique information:

"“Moreover, a source with direct knowledge indicated to FootballScoop that Michigan may have attempted to assist the opposition of a potential CFP opponent in an effort to disrupt that team’s potential path to the Playoff.”"

No team names were mentioned, and the source suggested a singular potential opponent, but it was taken from there. Multiple outlets began to put the connection to Tennessee together, and from there Clemson outlets began to do the same.