It looks like Michigan will be without its fearless leader, Jim Harbaugh for a quarter of the 2023 season.
According to a report by Yahoo Sports’ Ross Dellenger, Harbaugh is expected to be suspended four games due to originally saying things to NCAA investigators that weren’t true, and this punishment is part of a resolution Harbaugh is working out with the NCAA.
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh and NCAA are working toward a negotiated resolution that is expected to see him suspended four games this season in penalties stemming from alleged false statements he originally made to investigators, sources tell @YahooSports.https://t.co/4oJYVNxmFu
— Ross Dellenger (@RossDellenger) July 25, 2023
Michigan is being cited for Level I violations, which could include as much as a six-game suspension for a head coach and significant recruiting restrictions.
Yahoo! reported that this agreement is “an initial version of the negotiated resolution and is not yet finalized.” The NCAA Committee on Infractions has to approve the resolution, which Dellenger writes “could take days if not weeks.” The committee can also make changes to the penalties if it chooses to.
So how did we get here?
Well, the NCAA had been investigating Harbaugh and Michigan’s staff for recruiting violations. It was during the first meeting with Harbaugh and investigators that Harbaugh is alleged by the NCAA’s enforcement staff to have lied about the violations in question. In January, Harbaugh refused to admit to this and as of now, claims that he doesn’t recall what was said in that meeting and didn’t purposefully withhold the truth.
Two of Harbaugh’s assistant plus one of his former assistants are also facing discipline. Mike Macdonald, who was Jim Harbaugh’s defensive coordinator and now is Jim’s brother, John’s, DC with the Baltimore Ravens, is receiving a one-year show-cause penalty, which could hinder his chances of landing a college job in the future.
Jim Harbaugh’s current offensive coordinator, Sherrone Moore, and its tight ends coach, Grant Newsome, are also expected to receive sanctions, Yahoo! reported.
Dellenger wrote that “Harbaugh’s alleged initial cover-up was worse than the crime itself from the NCAA’s perspective.” Initially, Michigan had been charged with four level two violations, which included, per Yahoo!
- “Meeting with two recruits during a COVID-19 dead period.”
- “Texting a recruit outside of an allowable dead period.”
- “Having analysts perform on-field coaching during practice.”
- “Having coaches watching players work out via Zoom.”
Eventually, Harbaugh admitted to the program being guilty of Level II violations, but wouldn’t sign anything or admit that he didn’t tell the truth to the NCAA.
Fortunately for Michigan and it’s fans, the Wolverines— who are favored by many to win the Big Ten and are national title hopefuls as well— are playing East Carolina, UNLV, Bowling Green— all group of five schools— and lowly Rutgers to start the season, with every game at home.
If this four-game suspension becomes final, Michigan has a better chance of signing Patrick Mahomes to play quarterback than it does of losing any of those four games.
Penn State plays Michigan at Beaver Stadium Nov. 11, so Jim Harbaugh will be back in plenty of time.