Michigan Football Head Coach Jim Harbaugh Suspended Ahead Of Penn State Game

Update, 4:25 p.m.: Following Harbaugh’s suspension, Michigan Athletics released a statement sharing it will seek a court order to prevent the suspension, as reported by The Athletic’s Nicole Auerbach.

“Today’s action by Commissioner Tony Petitti disregards the Conference’s own handbook, violates basic tenets of due process, and sets an untenable precedent of assessing penalties before an investigation has been completed,” the statement read. “We are dismayed at the Commissioner’s rush to judgement when there is an ongoing NCAA investigation – one in which we are fully cooperating.”

“To ensure fairness in the process, we intend to seek a court order, together with Coach Harbaugh, preventing this disciplinary action from taking effect,” it continued.

Original Story: Michigan head football coach Jim Harbaugh was suspended by the Big Ten from in-game coaching for the remainder of the regular season, the conference announced Friday afternoon. He’ll be allowed to coach during the week but will be prohibited from the sideline for Michigan’s three remaining games.

The Wolverines are scheduled to play Penn State at noon on Saturday, November 11.

“As a penalty imposed on the institution, the University football team must compete without its Head Football Coach for the games remaining in the 2023 regular-season, effective immediately,” the release read. “This disciplinary action shall not preclude the University or its football team from having its Head Football Coach attend practices or other football team activities other than the game activities to which it applies. For clarity, the Head Football Coach shall not be present at the game venue on the dates of the games to which this disciplinary action applies.”

Harbaugh’s suspension comes in the face of an NCAA probe into allegations that the Wolverines stole play signals from opponents. While stealing signs from an opponent doesn’t necessarily break NCAA laws, Michigan allegedly sent people to film the sidelines of future opponents before Michigan played them which violates NCAA rules and is considered advanced scouting.

The Big Ten stated Harbaugh was in violation of the Big Ten Sportsmanship Policy for “conducting an impermissible, in-person scouting operation over multiple years, resulting in an unfair competitive advantage that compromised the integrity of competition.” 

The NCAA has yet to issue a ruling on Harbaugh’s situation at this point, and it isn’t expected to for some time. However, several Big Ten schools reportedly pressured the conference’s commissioner, Tony Petitti, to take action against Harbaugh and the Wolverines during the 2023 season.

The Wolverines are considered national title contenders and are ranked No. 3 in the College Football Playoff rankings. Should Michigan defeat Penn State Saturday, the Wolverines are expected to make the College Football Playoff.

Harbaugh has led Michigan since the 2015 season. In the time that Harbaugh has worked with the Wolverines, he’s amassed a record of 82-25, which includes six wins and two losses to Penn State. However, the last two games, which were both Michigan wins, came during the time the Wolverines have been accused of stealing opponent signs.

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About the Author

Joe Lister

Joe is a senior journalism major at Penn State and Onward State's managing editor. He writes about everything Penn State, especially its 10-2 football team. If you want to find him, Joe's usually watching soccer with his shirt off or at the gym with his shirt on. For dumb stuff, follow him on Twitter (iamjoelister). For serious stuff, email him ([email protected]).

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