Reports: Big Ten ADs ‘sense a change in tenor’ from commissioner Petitti regarding Michigan sign stealing investigation  

There is growing sense within the Big Ten Conference that something must be done soon about the ongoing NCAA investigation into alleged Michigan sign stealing.  

Big Ten athletic directors and coaches have met on video calls in recent weeks, and Thursday struck a bit of a different tune according to multiple reports.

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According to Pete Thamel of ESPN, Big Ten athletic directors “met with commissioner Tony Petitti on a video call Thursday” and “the athletic directors left the call with the notion that Petitti is taking the Big Ten’s ability to punish Michigan over the allegations more seriously than before.”  

The Thursday meeting “took on a distinctly different tenor than when they met a week ago,” according to Thamel, and the athletic directors left with the message that “the conference needs to step up.” The meeting also took place without Michigan athletics director Warde Manuel present. 

The NCAA launched an investigation in October into Michigan regarding alleged sign stealing, and staff member Connor Stalions was suspended with pay

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According to Thamel, Stalions bought tickets to at least 30 games at least 11 Big Ten schools in the past three seasons, and tickets were also bought for the 2021 and 2022 Southeastern Conference championship games. 

Petitti and the Big Ten could look into whether Michigan violated the conference’s sportsmanship policy amid allegations of sign stealing. 

Purdue head coach Ryan Walters spoke during The Ryan Walters Show about the alleged Michigan sign stealing, and he brought up an interesting perspective that his team has had to take on. 

“It’s unfortunate, and what’s crazy is they aren’t allegations, like, it happened,” Walters said. “There’s video evidence. There’s ticket purchases and sales that you can track back, and we know for a fact that they were at a number of our games. And so we’ve had to teach our guys a new language in terms of some signals, and we will operate differently offensively like you might see us in a huddle for the first time this season so it is it is what it is, but we’re excited to go play and I think it’ll make for a great story.” 

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Walters and the Boilermakers will face No. 3 Michigan in Ann Arbor on Saturday, and Purdue already seems to have taken steps as a result of reports surrounding the sign stealing investigation. 

No potential punishment was discussed among Big Ten athletic directors, according to Thamel. Petitti has spoken with the NCAA about its own investigation.