Michigan football's offseason is off to one hell of a start. Besides Jim Harbaugh's annual NFL flirtation, which has played out even more embarrassingly this time as a rift between Harbaugh and U-M athletic director Warde Manuel has gone public and grown as painfully obvious as a dead-end marriage, we now have a Michigan assistant coach caught up in what appears to be a serious criminal matter.

U-M co-offensive coordinator Matt Weiss is under investigation by the university's police department for alleged "computer access crimes" that occurred last month at the school's football building, ESPN reports. U-M has placed Weiss on leave. A university spokesperson told ESPN that Weiss has not "recently" been with the team, at the football program's facilities, or recruiting for the Wolverines.

Weiss released the following short statement to ESPN on Tuesday:

"I am aware of the ongoing investigation by the University of Michigan Police Department and fully cooperating with investigators. I look forward to the matter being resolved. Out of respect for the integrity of the investigation, I will not have any further comment."

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But the most stunning part of ESPN's report was the eye-witness account of one of Weiss' Ann Arbor neighbors, who says authorities in unmarked cars abruptly arrived at Weiss' home for an unannounced raid last week.

What the hell could possibly prompt that kind of response from law enforcement? There's no official word as authorities aren't releasing much information at this point. But the outlook is bad. Really, really bad.

So let's speculate as to what Weiss allegedly did.

Some Type Of Hacking

If you're a true-crime junkie, or just a voracious consumer of news, you've probably heard the term "computer access crime" before. That's how the authorities here have termed the provenance of the matter with Weiss.

When invoking the phrase "computer access crime," law enforcement is often referencing some form of hacking, as Metro Detroit attorney Wade Fink explained on Twitter:

But if the alleged incident occurred at Michigan's football facility, why then would authorities raid Weiss' home?

I suppose you can't rule it out, even in the sports realm. Just a few years ago, the St. Louis Cardinals got in trouble for hacking the Houston Astros' scouting database, so there is a bit of sports precedence here.

Academic Fraud

U-M police said in a statement that this entire investigation stems from alleged computer access crimes that happened at the Michigan football facility between December 21 and 23.

It's interesting enough that authorities released such a specific timeline. But it gets even more interesting when you line that time frame up with the college football calendar.

Since 2017, Division I college football has offered a three-day period for recruits to submit their National Letter of Intent about six weeks ahead of National Signing Day, which heretofore represented the official end of a given recruiting cycle. This new time frame, called the Early Signing Period, allows recruits to officially lock in with their chosen team ahead of time.

Can you guess which dates the Early Signing Period encompassed in 2022? December 21 through 23.

The conformance of the two timelines could mean something untoward was going on with a recruit's/signee's admission and/or enrollment with the university.

The specific language U-M police used to describe the matter on the department's crime blotter further raises suspicions of academic impropriety:

1/05/2023 12:44 pm

An employee reported fraudulent activity involving someone accessing university emails accounts without authorization. Upon further investigation, It was found that a crime may have been committed.

That is the only police-involved matter reported at Schembechler Hall since December of 2022. You can see the entry in the U-M police blotter for yourself here.

There's also the context of Michigan and Harbaugh currently being investigated for multiple NCAA infractions, which suddenly seems not so insignificant.

Who knows, though? I'm certainly no expert.

But what I do know is that fate has a sense of humor.

Wouldn't it be fitting that a football program that's spent months character-assassinating and campaigning for draconian legal retribution against eight players from one of its rivals for a postgame fight not only did so while knowing fully well about and attempting to cover up one of its own captains facing a felony gun charge but also while employing as a high-level assistant a coach who would defraud the university?

How TV Networks Are Ruining College Sports

As major college sports sells off the final bits and pieces of its dignity and soul, the industry is growing more and more unrecognizable to longtime fans. The never-ending drive for added revenue and new revenue streams has given TV networks hegemony over college sports the likes of which we've simply never seen. It's good for business, but hardly ever good for anyone else.

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