A controversy that has engulfed the college football world threatened to similarly engulf one of the sport’s premiere analysis shows — but did it?
If you follow college football at all, you’ve no doubt heard about the sign-stealing scandal that has rocked the Michigan football program.
It’s been a polarizing ordeal, with Michigan fans arguing that sign-stealing is rampant in college football, which is actually true. The act of stealing signs, in and of itself, is not illegal.
What Michigan stands accused of is sending an in-person scout to steal signs at future opponents’ games — which is illegal.
Michigan’s detractors are saying that the allegations should disqualify a very, very good Wolverines team from the college football playoffs.
Michigan fans, understandably, have not taken kindly to those suggestions, and have pegged ESPN as one of the chief voices leading this crusade against the Wolverines.
According to WDIV-TV, ESPN’s coverage of the scandal has soured Michigan fans on the network — including its popular “College GameDay” program, which was in Ann Arbor today for the Wolverines’ highly anticipated showdown with bitter rival Ohio State.
Adding to the enormity of it all, Ohio State was the second-ranked team in the nation going into today’s game, while Michigan was third.
To say that this game could have massive implications for the playoffs would be an understatement — so it makes total sense that ESPN would want to take its traveling college football show to Michigan.
But did Michigan want ESPN? According to WDIV, the answer appeared to be a resounding “no.”
The outlet reported that fans were planning to boycott the boisterous show. A quick search on social media for topics such as “ESPN” and “Michigan” yields a number of angry users as well.
That being said — calls for a boycott apparently fell on deaf ears.
The audience for Saturday’s “College GameDay” was as loud and rowdy as ever. The headcount appeared about normal, as well, as noted by Front Office Sports.
Many Michigan fans called for a boycott of College GameDay because of how ESPN has covered the sign-stealing saga.
It doesn’t appear to have made a difference.pic.twitter.com/k8TtQ2pyCI
— Front Office Sports (@FOS) November 25, 2023
As it stands, one Wolverines fan who certainly wasn’t in attendance at today’s game was Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh, who is serving a suspension as part of the ongoing NCAA investigation into the sign-stealing scandal.
In their season finale, the Buckeyes and Wolverines are both looking to secure a perfect 12-0 record and an almost guaranteed spot in the college football playoffs.
With about three minutes left in the game, Michigan leads Ohio State 27-24.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.