Just when we thought the Michigan sign-stealing scandal was going to come to an end, get a load of this latest bombshell. Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel sent out a press release stating that effective immediately, linebackers coach Chris Partridge has been relieved of his duties. He is no longer on the Michigan football staff. Taking his place will be Rick Minter, who is Jesse Minter’s father.
The news of Partridge’s termination came in the late morning the day before the Wolverines were to take on Maryland on Saturday. Last Friday saw head coach Jim Harbaugh be suspended by the Big Ten for three games for violating the conference’s sportsmanship policy. Michigan was going to fight this tooth and nail, until they did not… Harbaugh accepted the three-game suspension and moved on.
Apparently, over the last few days, Michigan leaders were given new evidence in the sign-stealing scandal and abruptly changed course. These last two moves made by the university’s athletic department are an admission of guilt. Why would you accept a three-game suspension if you did not do anything wrong? Why would you fire a position coach the day before you have to play Maryland?
Former Michigan staffer Conner Stalions no longer works in Ann Arbor, and neither does Partridge…
We are in untrodden territory with a huge scandal breaking on a team with championship aspirations.
Michigan is 10-0 on the season, 7-0 in Big Ten play and could easily win the College Football Playoff.
Michigan fires Chris Partridge in the wake of more sign-stealing evidence
Over the last few weeks, this scandal has gotten weirder by the day. The animus many of Harbaugh’s fellow Big Ten head coaches have for him makes this situation incredibly intense. While receipts, photos and things of that nature involving Stalions were one thing, Harbaugh accepting the three-game suspension and then Manuel firing Partridge the day before the Maryland game are another.
Sadly, this does not feel like this is going to be the last shoe to drop in this case. There is no reason to point fingers at anyone, but this investigation has uncovered a great deal more than we even realized. How deep does the rabbit hole go? What else is inside this can or worms? Regardless, this scandal will leave an ugly dark mark on the Michigan program heading into the holiday season, alright.
I don’t know if the Big Ten, the NCAA or the College Football Playoff Selection Committee can slow this juggernaut team down in time, but this does seem like a lack of institutional control. Other people beyond Stalions and Patridge will lose their jobs. Legacies will be tarnished. To me, it is hard to see Harbaugh sticking at Michigan beyond this season. What an absolute shame this is quickly becoming.
Unless the Terps have Turtle Power, our only hope seeing Michigan fall would have to be Ohio State.