On the heels of back-to-back Big Ten titles with an eye toward a potential national championship, Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh is facing an NCAA suspension to start the 2023 season.
Yahoo Sports’ Ross Dellenger reported Tuesday that Michigan and the NCAA are working toward a negotiated resolution that would result in an expected four-game suspension for Harbaugh. The suspension stems from alleged false statements he made to NCAA investigators who were looking into recruiting violations committed by Harbaugh and members of his coaching staff.
Harbaugh was asked about the impending suspension Thursday at Big Ten Media Days in Indianapolis. The coach said he has “nothing to be ashamed of,” but said he can’t discuss the matter publicly at this time.
“As you probably already know, I’m not allowed to talk about any aspect of that ongoing situation,” Harbaugh said. “I would love to lay it all out there. Nothing to be ashamed of, but now is not that time. That’s all there is to say about that.”
Harbaugh is accused of being dishonest when questioned by the NCAA about alleged violations committed during a COVID-19 dead period.
In a notice of allegations sent to Michigan last year, the NCAA alleged that the Wolverines had impermissible meetings with two recruits during a COVID-19 dead period. Other violations — all of which are considered Level II — include texting a recruit outside of a contact period, exceeding the NCAA’s limits for on-field coaches by having analysts instruct players during practice and having coaches watch players work out over Zoom.
A Level I violation came into the picture when the NCAA believed Harbaugh lied to investigators, which could ultimately lead to a suspension to start the 2023 season.
The NCAA enforcement staff alleged that Harbaugh was dishonest about the recruiting violations in his initial meeting with investigators. A quick resolution broke down in January after Harbaugh refused to admit that he lied to NCAA staff. The 59-year-old coach has maintained he didn’t recall the events when first speaking with investigators but that he was never purposefully dishonest.
According to Dellenger’s reporting, Harbaugh acknowledged that the program committed Level II violations but has refused to sign any document or publicly state that he was dishonest with NCAA enforcement.
A resolution between the NCAA and Harbaugh seemed distant a few months ago. During two meetings in January, the NCAA and Harbaugh held firm and refused to back down from their positions. The NCAA said the coach lied. The coach said he merely forgot otherwise insignificant actions. An impasse resulted.
Nothing has been finalized in Michigan’s NCAA case as the resolution must be approved by the Committee on Infractions before any potential punishment for Harbaugh — or the UM program — becomes official.
Michigan is scheduled to open its season with four home games vs. East Carolina, UNLV, Bowling Green and Rutgers.
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