The Arizona State Sun Devils football team has agitated its opponents over the past couple of weeks by allegedly stealing play-calling signals, but the Pac-12 does not seem to be particularly concerned about any illegal actions.
Doug Haller of AZCentral Sports passed along the conference’s comments regarding the Arizona State controversy:
While many frown upon stealing signals and consider it to be cheating, the statement highlights the fact that it is not technically against any NCAA rules. That is the most important thing, although it is fair to question the sportsmanship involved.
Arizona State head coach Todd Graham pointed to the legality of it in recent comments, per Haller: "Do we steal signals? Yeah, we do. Do people steal our signals? Yeah, (they) do. ... We are definitely going by the rules. There’s not anything illegal about looking at somebody’s signals or...somebody’s groupings."
According to Graham Watson of Yahoo Sports, Utah was concerned that Arizona State stole its signals when a Sun Devils coach made a passing motion right before the Utes attempted a pass. Oregon used sheets to cover its assistant coaches who were sending in signals out of fear that the Arizona State sideline would attempt to steal their signals.
Next up for the Sun Devils is a game against Washington State, and Cougars head coach Mike Leach thinks the league should investigate his next opponent, per Watson. “I mean, you've got two straight schools with concerns over it, back to back, and they have a reputation for it that extends beyond that," Leach said. "The conference probably ought to investigate them and see what they’re doing, make sure nothing is illegal.”
Arizona State may be stealing signals, but it’s not doing a good job of converting that to effective play on the field. It gave up 61 points to Oregon in a triple-overtime loss and dropped the Utah game, 34-18.
The Sun Devils had conference title aspirations heading into the season, and some even saw them as darkhorse contenders for the College Football Playoff. They now sit at 4-4 with work to do just to be bowl-eligible, and this serves as something of a distraction in a disappointing season.