One day after Michigan withdrew its challenge of the Big Ten’s suspension of head coach Jim Harbaugh amid the ongoing investigation into the program’s alleged sign-stealing scheme, the Wolverines made a major move.
On Friday, Michigan announced that it has fired linebackers coach Chris Partridge. While the Wolverines didn’t provide a reason for Partridge’s unexpected dismissal, Yahoo Sports’ Dan Wetzel and Ross Dellenger reported that the assistant coach had “acted after the fact to cover up evidence” related to the sign-stealing scheme, which was allegedly run by a recruiting staffer named Connor Stalions who has since resigned from the program.
Additionally, ESPN’s Pete Thamel reported Michigan had told Partridge that he “failed to abide by the university directive not to discuss an ongoing NCAA investigation with anyone associated with the Michigan football program or others and as a result has determined that you have failed to satisfactorily perform your duties.” Thamel later added that Michigan’s message to Partridge referred to his “conversations within the program, including staff and players” and that “staff members are directed by the school/NCAA to not discuss the investigation.”
Per an ESPN source, this passage from Michigan refers to Partridge's conversations within the program, including staff and players. Staff members are directed by the school/NCAA to not discuss the investigation. https://t.co/ff1X6cGfxR
— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) November 17, 2023
Last week, the Big Ten announced that it was suspending Harbaugh for the Wolverines’ final three regular-season games as a result of the scandal. While Michigan initially filed a temporary restraining order in hopes of stopping the suspension, the Wolverines withdrew their challenge on Thursday, with the Big Ten ceasing its own investigation into the matter.
The NCAA’s investigation, however, remains ongoing.
With Harbaugh having already missed Michigan’s win over Penn State last weekend, he’ll now miss this weekend’s road game against Maryland and next weekend’s highly anticipated rivalry matchup against Ohio State. With the Wolverines ranked third and the Buckeyes ranked second in the College Football Playoff standings, the rivalry game could determine not only who represents the Big Ten East in the conference title game, but also potentially a spot in the College Football Playoffs.
Without Harbaugh on the sideline, offensive coordinator Sherrone Moore will serve as Michigan’s interim head coach.