Fired Michigan assistant Chris Partridge says he didn’t know of sign-stealing scheme

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By Samantha Rose

Former Michigan linebackers coach Chris Partridge said Monday in a social media post he had no knowledge of the alleged in-person scouting and sign-stealing scheme for which the NCAA is investigating the Wolverines and that he was fired for failing to abide by the school’s directive to avoid discussing the inquiry with “anyone associated with the program.”

Partridge posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, that he steered clear of making any public statements since he was fired 11 days earlier because he did not want to distract from the team’s goal of an unbeaten regular season.

Michigan beat Ohio State on Saturday 30-24 to clinch a third straight trip to the Big Ten championship game with its third consecutive victory against the Buckeyes. With a victory against No. 18 Iowa on Saturday in Indianapolis, No. 2 Michigan will secure a third consecutive College Football Playoff appearance.

Partridge said in his post that reporting on why he was let go has been inaccurate.

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“Additionally, at no point did I destroy any evidence related to the ongoing investigation,” he said.

Partridge was fired the day before Michigan played Maryland, and the day after the school dropped a lawsuit against the Big Ten that challenged the conference’s three-game suspension of head coach Jim Harbaugh.

Harbaugh was not with the team for games against Penn State, Maryland and Ohio State.

The former staffer at the center of the investigation, Connor Stalions, resigned two weeks ago. He is accused of purchasing tickets to scout future Michigan opponents and sending people to those games to digitally record teams signaling in their plays. In-person scouting is banned by the NCAA, which is trying to determine how organized the scheme was and who knew about it.

Partridge said a termination letter he received on Nov. 17 from athletic director Warde Manuel explained he was fired because he failed to abide by a university directive not to discuss an ongoing NCAA investigation with anyone associated with the Michigan Football Program.

“While I am extremely disappointed in the University’s decision to terminate my employment their decision does not change my continued love and support of Coach Jim Harbaugh, the coaches, and the players of Team 144 as they continue their quest for a National Championship,” Partridge said.

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The season was Partridge’s first of a second stint at Michigan.

He previously worked for Harbaugh from 2016-19, before leaving for Mississippi. He was initially hired to be the team’s director of player personnel before being promoted to assistant coach for four years during his first stint with the Wolverines.

Reporting by The Associated Press.

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