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WSU coach Mike Leach fined by Pac-12 for signal-stealing comments

Mike Leach has stepped up the rhetoric on sign stealing in the Pac-12. (Tyler Tjomsland)
Mike Leach has stepped up the rhetoric on sign stealing in the Pac-12. (Tyler Tjomsland)

The Pac-12 conference announced Thursday night that Washington State coach Mike Leach has been fined $10,000 for his recent comments accusing Arizona State of attempting to steal the signals of opposing teams.

“Conference rules prohibit member institutions from disparaging each other and discrediting other institutions,” Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said in a statement.

This is the second time Leach has had to pay for his comments about officiating. In 2007 the Big 12 fined Leach $10,000 for railing against the officiating crew following a loss to Texas.

Leach and other Pac-12 coaches have accused the Sun Devils of attmpeting to steal the signs used by other teams to call plays. This itself is not against the rules, but this week Leach said the Sun Devils go above and beyond the bounds of what is permissable. NCAA rules prohibit certain audio and video equipment in the team areas, coaching boxes and booths, and state that attempts to record signals are prohibited.

During his weekly Monday press conference, Leach likely drew the conference’s ire when he said “I think they have a certain amount of technology and expertise on the subject” and said he has heard rumors the Sun Devils use microphones and cameras to assist in their sign stealing.

ASU coach Todd Graham has admitted that the Sun Devils try to decipher other team’s signals, but said that it was “ridiculous” for Leach to suggest his coaches did anything prohibited by NCAA rules.

Still, Leach is not the only coach who seems to think the Sun Devils present an atypical threat when it comes to sign stealing. Last year Oregon famously had five assistant coaches hold up a white sheet to shield its signs from the ASU sideline.

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