Steve Sarkisian believes sign-stealing scandals undermine ‘positive things around college football’


The NCAA’s investigation into Michigan’s sign-stealing practice has stirred up quite a conversation in college football about not only the ethics of stealing signs, but also its solution. Texas coach Steve Sarkisian joined an increasing chorus of voices to emphatically recommend coach-to-player radio communication during a Thursday teleconference. However, Sarkisian’s big-picture view of the scandal is what may resonate the most with a college football community watching the process unfold in real time.
“Everybody write an article about why doesn’t college football have coach-to-player communication so I don’t have to deal with sign stealing, and then I spend half my week changing signals and signs rather than coaching the game of football,” Sarkisian said, per 247Sports.
“[Sign stealing] should be at the forefront because I believe what was going on was wrong, but at the end of the day, there are too many good stories and positive things around college football, too many great players and too many great teams playing great football for us to be talking about this,” he continued. “Let’s just fix the problem. It’s not that hard, let’s get player-to-coach communication and let’s move forward.”
The NFL allows one-way communication between a coach and the quarterback on offense, as well as one player on the defensive side of the ball, typically a linebacker. Coaches can talk to the player with the headset embedded in the helmet until the play clock reaches 15 seconds or the ball is snapped. Such a system in college football would effectively eliminate illegal sign stealing.
“It all just makes, it all makes sense to me and there’s no shortage of money in college football clearly, so the idea that it is a competitive disadvantage for those who can’t do it or that [college football] stadiums aren’t equipped to have that kind of technology, I don’t buy it and I don’t understand it,” Sarkisian said. “Anytime I turn on college football late at night, if it’s not the first topic, it’s the second topic that’s brought up is sign stealing.”
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh has been suspended for the final three games of the regular season but will appear at a Friday hearing in an attempt to return to the sidelines for upcoming games at Maryland and vs. Ohio State. Former Wolverines staffer Connor Stalions has resigned for his role in a widespread scheme to purchase game tickets involving Big Ten and potential College Football Playoff teams to illegally record and decipher signals.


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