Connor Stalions, the worst spy ever embattled recruiting analyst at the center of the unprecedented illegal-scouting and sign-stealing scandal besieging Michigan football, resigned Friday afternoon, exactly two weeks after U-M placed him on paid suspension as the scandal began making headlines.

The timing coincided with a meeting between Big Ten Commissioner Tony Petitti, along with other league brass, and Michigan's administration, including Santa Ono, who sometimes serves as U-M's president when he's not too busy being Jim Harbaugh's chief cheerleader, apologist, and enabler. That meeting did not go well for the maize and blue side of things, according to Chris Balas of TheWolverine.com, who wrote the following on his publication's message board:

The Michigan administration met with the Big Ten Friday prepared to fight for head coach Jim Harbaugh and his staff, having taken him at his word that he had no knowledge of analyst Connor Stalions' actions involving illegal on-site scouting leading to sign stealing. They were even moving forward on a contract extension for the coach that would have made him the highest paid in the conference.

Sources tell us the Big Ten presented Michigan with "overwhelming evidence" of "a plot so extensive" that, in the words of one at the meeting, "someone should have known." The U-M administration met for some time to discuss the options going forward. As of now, Harbaugh is expected to coach against Purdue tomorrow. But more evidence has continued to mount that would, at the very least, put the extension in doubt.

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Balas added that the Big Ten "threatened [Michigan with] nuclear options,” which, considering that this reporting comes from a publication called "The Wolverine" and isn't exactly known as the paragon of objectivity, is significant. It would be similar in magnitude to, say, Russian state-operated TV declaring that Vladimir Putin was losing the war in Ukraine, Aaron Rodgers endorsing a vaccine, or a Michigan fan acknowledging that Bo Schembechler never won a national championship. These are things that just don't happen.

Perhaps this development played a role in Stalions' abrupt decision to resign? He released a statement saying he was stepping down to avoid creating a distraction for the team — A little late for that, isn't it? — and, like all good cultists, fell on the sword to protect Dear Leader. I won't republish the statement here because I respect you, the reader, and won't subject you to brazen propaganda.

Criticism of Michigan football ratcheted up a few notches earlier this week when photo and video evidence began making the rounds showing Stalions masquerading as a Central Michigan staffer on the visitor sideline during Michigan State's season opener against the Chippewas at Spartan Stadium on Friday, Sept. 1. Michigan's debut was the next day at noon in Ann Arbor.

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Stalions was wearing sunglasses, a suspicious enough choice on its own given the game was played at night, that later on were determined to be a model of Ray Bans that house a covert video camera. And although he was wearing the same outfit as most of CMU's staff, Stalions' Nike shoes were clear in photos and videos from the game. Central Michigan's official athletic-wear supplier is Adidas.

If you've ever had field access at a college football game you know how stringent the security is. That's what makes Stalions' infiltration so hard to explain. CMU has opened up an investigation into the matter. But the level of detail and planning — from the disguise to the eavesdropping-enabled glasses — doesn't seem like the work of someone who's doing this for the first time.

It's unclear what exactly the Big Ten produced to U-M leaders in Friday's meeting as new and overwhelming evidence. But not long after that, and just a few hours removed from Stalions' resignation, photos and videos began circulating that appear to show someone who shares an uncanny likeness to Stalions on the Western Michigan bench at MSU's 2022 season opener at Spartan Stadium on the evening of Friday, Sept. 2. Michigan's opener, once again, was the very next day at noon.

Rumors had recently spread on social media that Stalions was caught on camera performing his unique routine — a blend of a poor-man's James Bond and a welfare version of Mission Impossible's Ethan Hunt —on another team's sideline. On Friday, the dam burst. One of the first on the story was Buckeye Scoop:

Buckeye Scoop reports that a WMU staffer told them about the person in question in the video above: "I coach at Western Michigan and I have no idea who that person is."

Is it Stalions? It's hard to know for sure. Context clues point overwhelmingly toward the affirmative, though. Not to mention the person featured here appears to have missed the intraoffice memo about the entire staff wearing black shoes to the game.

But does it even matter? At this point, the NCAA and Big Ten have Michigan dead to rights. There's a reason the Big Ten reportedly suggested a suspension for Harbaugh to U-M administrators — a suggestion that was, in typical Michigan fashion, rebuffed. If that's not enough to convince you that the Sword of Damocles is positioned uncomfortably overhead of Michigan football, just take the temperature of their usually obsequious cult fanbase.

Michigan Scandals, Controversies, and Embarassments During Warde Manuel's Tenure as Athletic Director

Michigan athletics has been engulfed by multiple scandals, controversies, and embarassments over the last two years, all occurring on athletic director Warde Manuel's watch.

As the issues continue to mount, and Manuel continues to be practically invisible to the media and public, it's a wonder Manuel hasn't been fired already.

Gallery Credit: Getty Images