Shortly after the Big Ten announced that it was suspending Jim Harbaugh for the final three games of the regular season, the University of Michigan filed a temporary restraining order in hopes of preventing the punishment from going into effect.
Less than one week later, however, a resolution has been reached, which will see Harbaugh complete the three-game suspension, the first game of which he has already served. As a result, the former Wolverines quarterback will miss Michigan’s final two games of the regular season against Maryland and rival Ohio State, with Sherrone Moore serving as the team’s interim coach.
In return for the Wolverines withdrawing their legal challenge, Michigan says that the Big Ten has agreed to close its investigation into the program’s alleged sign-stealing scheme. That scheme remains under investigation by the NCAA.
On Thursday, Michigan released the following 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.”
But while Michigan’s statement paints the resolution as a settlement of sorts, the Big Ten’s own statement only referred to the Wolverines withdrawing their legal challenge.
“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.”
Suffice it to say, this won’t be the last we hear about the Michigan sign-stealing scandal, which centers around a recruiting staffer named Connor Stalions who has been accused of orchestrating a scheme to have associates attend future opponents’ games to videotape the sidelines in an attempt to decipher playcalls and signals. Stalions has since resigned.