The Michigan Wolverines are one of the top-ranked college football teams in the nation, and they are closing in on perhaps a third-straight appearance in the College Football Playoff.
But they will be without their head coach for a portion of that stretch run.
Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh was suspended on Friday by the Big Ten for the remainder of the regular season, as an investigation continues into a program of sign-stealing by the Wolverines. According to all available reporting former recruiting analyst Connor Stalions put together an operation at the school to ascertain playcall signs for Michigan’s opponents. While learning a team’s signals is not explicitly against college football rules, learning those signs through in-person scouting, or through the use of electronics, is against college football rules.
Recent allegations against Stalions, who resigned from Michigan late last week, include a current investigation into whether the former Michigan recruiting analyst was on Central Michigan’s sideline — and in Central Michigan gear — when CMU took on Michigan State to open the 2023 season.
In a statement, the conference clarified that while Harbaugh is able to coach during the week, he cannot be with the team on game day:
As a penalty imposed on the institution, the University football team must compete without its Head Football Coach for the games remaining in the 2023 regular-season, effective immediately. This disciplinary action shall not preclude the University or its football team from having its Head Football Coach attend practices or other football team activities other than the game activities to which it applies. For clarity, the Head Football Coach shall not be present at the game venue on the dates of the games to which this disciplinary action applies.
In addition, the conference noted that further penalties could be coming at the conclusion of the NCAA’s own investigation:
The Big Ten says it may impose additional disciplinary actions as more information is received over the course of the NCAA investigation: pic.twitter.com/X1BjYUUJQD
— Nicole Auerbach (@NicoleAuerbach) November 10, 2023
The school issued a response, stating that they intend to seen a temporary restraining order (TRO) preventing the suspension from taking effect. Michigan also noted that the suspension in their mind “violates basic tenets of due process.”
Further, the school pointed out that the suspension was handed down on a day courts were closed, in observation of the Veteran’s Day holiday:
The Wolverines have three games remaining on their schedule: Penn State, Maryland, and Ohio State.
Harbaugh was also suspended for the first three games of the 2023 season, as part of a self-imposed set of sanctions handed down by Michigan.
This story will be updated as further information becomes available.