The Michigan Wolverines aren’t admitting guilt in the alleged sign-stealing scandal surrounding their football program.
But they’re not exactly operating in the manner that you’d expect a program that knows its innocent would do either.
In addition to dropping their appeal of head coach Jim Harbaugh‘s three-game suspension, the Wolverines unexpectedly parted ways with assistant coach Chris Patridge on Friday afternoon.
““Effective today, Chris Partridge has been relieved of his duties as a member of the Michigan Football staff. Rick Minter will serve as the team’s linebackers coach,” a statement from Michigan Athletic Director Warde Manuel read.
Minter is the father of current Michigan defensive coordinator Jesse Minter and served as the head coach for Cincinnati from 1994-2003.
Partridge, meanwhile, leaves the program less than a year after being hired as the linebackers coach. That comes after an initial stint from 2015-2019 where he served in several different capacities.
Ross Dellenger of Yahoo Sports reports that Partridge is alleged to have destroyed evidence in the NCAA’s investigation.
“Multiple sources say that Partridge is not alleged at this time of knowing about the advanced scouting by Stalions, but acted after the fact to cover up evidence,” the report claims. “Sources tell Yahoo Sports that a booster — named in the NCAA report as ‘Uncle T’ — helped fund the scheme, giving Stalions thousands of dollars for expenses.”
Naturally, fans were very skeptical of the move and what it meant for the larger scandal.
“It is wild to me that Michigan is allowed to compete in the postseason despite apparent smoking guns that they cheated to gain competitive advantage this season,” wrote @j_a155.
“Oh? So the ‘rushed’ investigation had enough evidence to terminate somebody without too much fear of a lawsuit,” tweeted @beta_rank_fb.
@CrimsonCast said “This is going to go down as a classic PR blunder by Michigan. To act as hysterically indignant as they did all last week, you need all the facts on your side. They are lucky the Big Ten is such a forgiving conference.”
Did Partridge know about the sign stealing? Nobody can say!
But it sure seems like he might have known.