COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – The current talk of the sports world is the alleged sign stealing scheme by Michigan’s football program.
The latest reports from the Associated Press state this whole inquiry was triggered by an outside firm’s investigation into the Wolverines.
In central Ohio, the question remains how this “scheme” will impact the most anticipated game of the year between the buckeyes and the team up north.
According to the AP, the person at the center of this investigation is Michigan analyst Connor Stalions.
The Associated Press said there is evidence from 11 Big Ten schools of Stalions buying digital tickets to games in his name. This includes Ohio State University.
AP is also reporting Stalions apparently purchased two tickets, one on each side of the stadium, for last weekend’s Ohio State vs Penn State top ten match up.
In the digital ticket era, it’s easy to transfer tickets from one person to another.
The AP said in this case, there is evidence of Stalions transferring the tickets to other names.
Jamie Kaufman, the President of Dream Seats Inc., a local ticketing company in Columbus, said there is really no hiding when purchasing a digital ticket.
“We invoice everything. So we’re going to know who our buyer is all the time,” Kaufman said.
He said that data information normally stays confidential.
“We wouldn’t disclose unless it was, you know, some sort of law enforcement investigation,” Kaufman said.
Kaufman said ticketing giants such as Seat Geek and Ticketmaster, which Kaufman said OSU sells tickets through, keeps track of this information as well.
Cyber security experts said even if a person transfers that ticket out of their name and to another there will always be a link back to the originator.
“A lot of it has to do with where the source of the ticket originated. So if it originated from an app, then that app is actually tracking its origin, its creation, what phone is it tied to? What information is tied to that account,” said Denise Bergstrom, the Program Chair for MS and cyber security at Franklin University. “Think of it like tracking a UPS or Fedex or other mail purchase through the travel that it takes.”
The AP also reports, Stalions purchased all the tickets in his name, but there is evidence he was not always the one to use them.
“If this person who is the brains decides that he’s personally not going to be in attendance,” Kaufman said. “He might have had a couple of accounts, might have transferred to somebody else. But if any of that originated in his that that will all be that’s all known. If he used his real information. And I mean, apparently it sounds like it happened that way, which is, I mean, foolish if you’re trying to cover yourself.”
Experts say there are ways to make it harder to trace the footprint like using a burner phone, a pre-loaded credit card or going through a third party seller. Some of those can be considered fraud. However, this case seems to be pretty straight forward.
“It can also be a little more difficult depending on how they’ve hidden themselves. If it was a burner phone or something like that. But we do have other profile markers. We have your geography where you were at the date and time of the transaction and it being sent. Have there been any other communications between your particular device and the device that purchased the ticket,” Bergstrom said.
OSU is unable to comment on anything involving the Michigan scandal being it is an ongoing investigation.
Stalions has been suspended with pay pending the investigation.