If the myriad twists and turns we've experienced in the less than two weeks since the Michigan football illegal-scouting/sign-stealing scandal broke haven't quite scratched your espionage-thriller itch the way John le Carré could, don't worry — the latest development ought to do the trick.

A rumor has been circulating around message-board and Twitter circles that Connor Stalions, the U-M football recruiting analyst at the center of this story, was at a home game for one of Michigan's Big Ten rivals and — wait for it — took in the contest from the visitors' sideline while HELPING THEM STEAL THE BIG TEN TEAM'S SIGNS.

Former Indiana basketball player-turned-coach, now ESPN broadcaster-turned-professional asshole Dan Dakich injected the rumors into the mainstream on Monday.

Twitter sleuths got to work at producing the smoking gun. It wasn't long before they found the following screenshots, which appear to show a man resembling Stalions decked out in Central Michigan gear on the CMU sidelines at Michigan State's season opener back on Friday, Sept. 1.

RELATED: What's With Michigan Men And Self-Incriminating Manifestos?

The timing and logistics here would work. MSU's game versus CMU took place that Friday night. Michigan's season opener at home versus East Carolina was a noon kickoff the next day.

Despite the apparent disguise — sunglasses, at a night game? — many say there's no doubt the person in question is Michigan football's cryptographer, including many Wolverine fans.

But, as is the case with so many of their ilk, some Wolverine fans remain incapable on a pathological level of any critical thought whatsoever about their favorite university with which they have no tangible connection. Either that or they've never heard of shaving and don't understand how much lighting affects color on a broadcast.

Clayton Sayfie, who covers Michigan for TheWolverine.com, indicated on his publication's message board that several in the media were aware of rumors that Stalions had attended a game at one of U-M's Big Ten rivals and aided the visiting team. When one message board poster on TheWolverine.com wondered aloud whether Michigan had "loaned" Stalions and his services to CMU in this instance, Sayfie responded:

Nobody would loan anything. This would be him going on his own (being reckless). Have heard the same thing (that he was at a game of this nature), so no surprise here.

Jim Harbaugh hired current Central Michigan head coach Jim McElwain as U-M's receivers coach in 2018. McElwain took the CMU job the next season. Stalions reportedly was a volunteer assistant for Michigan football then and would have known several people on CMU's staff whom McElwain brought with him from Ann Arbor to Mount Pleasant.

Stalions, whom Michigan suspended with pay a day after news of the scandal broke, allegedly purchased tickets in his own name to more than 30 games at 11 Big Ten schools, plus other games at at least six schools outside of U-M's league, since the beginning of the 2021 season, according to a bombshell report from ESPN. Sources also told ESPN that people sitting in the seats Stalions bought can be seen on stadium surveillance footage recording both sidelines via smartphone throughout durations of games.

It's just the latest in a long line of scandal and controversy within Michigan's athletic department. Speaking of, how does Warde Manuel still have a job?

Michigan Scandals, Controversies, and Embarassments During Warde Manuel's Tenure as Athletic Director

Michigan athletics has been engulfed by multiple scandals, controversies, and embarassments over the last two years, all occurring on athletic director Warde Manuel's watch.

As the issues continue to mount, and Manuel continues to be practically invisible to the media and public, it's a wonder Manuel hasn't been fired already.

Gallery Credit: Getty Images

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