Wolverines coach Jim Harbaugh accepted a three-game suspension from the Big Ten, just 24 hours before Michigan and the conference were set to meet in court to review the matter. All parties decided to resolve their disagreement and move forward. Harbaugh’s will keep him off the sideline through the remainder of the regular season, and in return, the Big Ten has agreed to close its investigation into the matter.
The University of Michigan said in a statement: “This morning, the University, Coach Harbaugh, and the Big Ten resolved their pending litigation. The Conference agreed to close its investigation, and the University and Coach Harbaugh agreed to accept the three-game suspension. Coach Harbaugh, with the University’s support, decided to accept this sanction to return the focus to our student-athletes and their performance on the field. The Conference has confirmed that it is not aware of any information suggesting Coach Harbaugh’s involvement in the allegations. The University continues to cooperate fully with the NCAA’s investigation.”
The Big Ten subsequently added in their own statement: “The Big Ten Conference’s commitment to student-athletes, sportsmanship and the Commissioner’s duty to protect the integrity of competition will never waver. Today’s decision by the University of Michigan to withdraw its legal challenge against the Conference’s November 10th Notice of Disciplinary Action is indicative of the high standards and values that the Conference and the University seek to uphold. The University of Michigan is a valued member of the Big Ten Conference and the Conference will continue to work cooperatively with the University and the NCAA during this process.”
The NCAA made findings of its ongoing probe available to the Big Ten before the conference took action against the Wolverines. Big Ten commissioner Tony Petitti suspended Harbaugh last week; meanwhile, Michigan remains under investigation by the NCAA for allegedly stealing signs in an illegal fashion through the use of advanced scouting and technology.
Offensive coordinator Sherrone Moore, who served as the team’s acting coach against the Nittany Lions, is expected to continue in that role until Harbaugh’s return. Should Michigan beat Ohio State and advance to the Big Ten title game, Harbaugh would be available to coach the Wolverines. Michigan is seeking a third consecutive league title and College Football Playoff berth.
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