Joel Klatt Michigan Screen grab: The Herd

Over the course of the past few days, the tide of public opinion has seemingly turned against Michigan.

But while ESPN’s Paul Finebaum and Stephen A. Smith have publicly spoken out about the Wolverines’ sign-stealing scandal, Fox’s Joel Klatt is defending Michigan.

Kind of.

Taking to the social media platform X (formerly Twitter), Klatt compiled a five-post thread calling for the Big Ten to not prematurely punish the Wolverines. Klatt’s thread came amid multiple reports that the other Big Ten coaches and athletic directors have urged the conference to take action against Michigan amid the ongoing scandal.

“Lots of sources and articles about how ‘mad’ opposing coaches are about Michigan,” Klatt wrote. “The level of anger has a direct relationship with the success Michigan has had over the last two+ seasons… Also, the level of anger is not grounds for an unprecedented overreach from the commish.

“The investigation should run its course and a notice of allegations sent to the program… Why would we have a different process for these allegations than we would for a tampering case?”

Klatt went on to call the reaction to the Michigan scandal very “us” and questioned why Big Ten coaches haven’t supported the use of radio technology in helmets to prevent sign-stealing.

“Every infraction should be handled with the same process…to demand otherwise is a fools errand,” he wrote. “Doesn’t matter who or what…Gather evidence, present evidence, respond, judgment, punishment… that’s how it works.”

While there are some flaws in Klatt’s argument — multiple Big Ten coaches have called for the use of radio technology — his perspective is interesting nonetheless. Despite the overwhelming amount of evidence that’s been made public against the Wolverines, it would be tough to argue that Michigan doesn’t deserve the same due process from the NCAA that anyone else would receive.

Conversely, the Big Ten isn’t beholden to the same standards as the NCAA and opposing schools are understandably upset that the Wolverines have seemingly been caught cheating — including allegations that a staffer was standing on Central Michigan’s sideline in a disguise during its game against Michigan State — this very season. Regardless of how good Michigan is, it would be completely understandable for its future opponents — including Penn State and Ohio State — to take issue with what the Wolverines might have already obtained from them through its alleged scheme.

With potential Big Ten Championship Game and College Football Playoff appearances for the Wolverines hanging in the balance, it’s a tough spot for the conference to be in.

Beyond whether or not the Big Ten should punish Michigan this season, it’s interesting to see Klatt, a prominent figure at one of the conference’s biggest media partners, publicly go to bat for the Wolverines — especially one day after ESPN’s Finebaum and Smith called for the league to step in. While most of Ann Arbor likely agrees with Klatt, there are also clearly many around the Big Ten who don’t, as the reporting from the last few days has shown.

[Joel Klatt on X]

About Ben Axelrod

Ben Axelrod is a veteran of the sports media landscape, having most recently worked for NBC's Cleveland affiliate, WKYC. Prior to his time in Cleveland, he covered Ohio State football and the Big Ten for outlets including Cox Media Group, Bleacher Report, Scout and Rivals.