U-M files court order to halt Big 10 suspension of Harbaugh

The University of Michigan filed a temporary restraining order against the Big 10 Conference for suspending football coach Jim Harbaugh for the rest of the season. 

The accusations of sign-stealing and the program’s inquiry led to the disciplinary penalty, which included keeping him off the sidelines.

The injunction, which was submitted on Friday night in Washtenaw County’s 22nd Circuit Court, aims to stop the Big 10 from implementing the suspension until the court gives its approval.

The conference’s evidence is outlined in a brief email from Big 10 Vice President Chad Hawley to U-M Athletic Director Warde Manuel, headed “Sportsmanship Issue.”

It claims that one of the staff members who isn’t a coach, Connor Stalions, organized a plan that encouraged people to go to games against their opponents in the future.

According to Hawley, participants were told to record opponents’ signals on camera, which is against both the Conference’s Football Game Management Manual and NCAA football playing rules, which forbid recording signals from coaches, players, and other team members and prohibit filming games in which the team is not playing.

“These were not random or isolated events. The infractions were widespread, systematic, and happened over a number of years, according to Hawley. “Specifically, dating back to at least the 2021 season and continuing through the current season, the staff member purchased strategically located tickets for games involving future opponents.”

Michigan retorted that it was intentional for the conference’s activities to fall on Veterans Day, a court holiday.

“By taking this action at this hour, the Commissioner is personally inserting himself onto the sidelines and altering the level playing field that he is claiming to preserve,” the reply stated. Furthermore, trying to prevent the University from requesting urgent legal relief on Veterans Day, a court holiday, is hardly a model of fairness.Together with Coach Harbaugh, we plan to get a court order to stop this disciplinary action from happening in order to guarantee justice in the proceedings.”

The suspension elicited a similar reaction from Michigan fans.

“I’m surprised they did it so last second, it feels almost like a cheap shot. …although I think that’s my Michigan fandom showing through more than an unbiased take,” David McDermott, a student at the University of Michigan

This is Harbaugh’s second suspension of the year. He had already been suspended by the university for recruiting during the COVID-19 dead period both on and off campus.

The Big 10 coach asserts that he was unaware of the sign theft.

“Out of everything that I’ve read, it seems like Jim didn’t really know anything about it and, given the reputation as a team all together and how the team reacted to the news, I don’t think they knew anything about it all,” Emma Hans, a student at the University of Michigan.

ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN – NOVEMBER 04: Head coach Jim Harbaugh of the Michigan Wolverines looks on in the first half while playing the Purdue Boilermakers at Michigan Stadium on November 04, 2023 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Ima


The conference released a statement saying:

The University of Michigan was found to have violated the Big Ten Sportsmanship Policy by conducting an illegal in-person scouting operation over a number of years, giving them an unfair competitive advantage that jeopardized the competition’s integrity. This was announced today by the Big Ten Conference.

The Big Ten Conference wants all games featuring a member university to be performed without compromising any basic element of sportsmanship, according to Big Ten Conference Agreement 10.01. These core components include respect for opponents and referees in particular, decency toward all, and the integrity of the sport.”

“Effective immediately, the University football team will play without its head football coach for the remaining games of the 2023 regular season as a penalty imposed by the university. The University or its football team may continue to invite its head coach to practices and other football team events apart from the game activities that are subject to this disciplinary action. For the avoidance of doubt, the Head Football Coach is not permitted to be at the game site on the dates that this disciplinary penalty is applicable.

“The Big Ten Conference will have no additional comment at this time.”

There are three games left in the regular season for the Wolverines, who are ranked No. 2 overall and No. 3 in the College Football Playoff Rankings. On Saturday, Michigan plays at No. 9 Penn State; on November 18, it travels to Maryland; and on November 25, it hosts No. 3 Ohio State at noon.

Below is the entire response from the university:

Like every other Big Ten Conference member, we have the right to a fair, methodical, and considerate procedure to ascertain all relevant information prior to a decision being made. Commissioner Tony Petitti’s decision today defies fundamental principles of due process, disobeys the Conference’s own guidelines, and establishes an unacceptable precedent.

of assessing penalties before an investigation has been completed. We are dismayed at the Commissioner’s rush to judgment when there is an ongoing NCAA investigation – one in which we are fully cooperating.

“Commissioner Petitti’s hurried action today implies that this is less about following the law and more about caving in to pressure from other Conference members.” The Commissioner is personally stepping aside and changing the level playing field that he purports to protect by acting in this manner at this late hour. Furthermore, it is scarcely neutral to try to prevent the University from requesting urgent legal relief on Veteran’s Day, a court holiday.Together with Coach Harbaugh, we plan to get a court order to stop this disciplinary action from happening in order to guarantee justice in the proceedings.”

The study conducted by an outside company, which produced recordings and documentation of

strategies and finances for scouting opponents without authorization. According to The Washington Post, the company acquired computer drives that were used and accessed by several Michigan coaches.

According to the report, the firm provided the NCAA with proof and implied that Stalions, a low-level employee who has been suspended by Michigan, was not the only employee aware of the scam. A second source with knowledge of the incident attested to the AP’s reporting that a company sent the NCAA the documents, videos, and photos that sparked the association’s probe.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button