Big Ten lawsuit against Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh closed.
Harbaugh agreed to serve the entirety of his three-game suspension, the first of which was served last week against Penn State. Harbaugh was suspended the day before the Big Ten Penn State game after it said it had “indisputable” evidence of an identity theft scheme.
Michigan initially sought an injunction against the Big Ten ruling in Washtenaw County (Mich.) court. A hearing on Michigan’s request to reinstate Harbaugh is scheduled for Friday. That investigation has now been dropped as the Big Ten agreed to end its investigation.
Harbaugh will be suspended for this weekend’s game at Maryland and next week’s Memorial game against Ohio State. He is eligible to coach any postseason games, including a potential Big Ten Championship and the College Football Playoff.
While the NCAA investigation is still ongoing, the Big Ten’s lawsuit against Harbaugh has been settled. Here’s how all the events of the past month have brought us to this point.
Oct. 18: NCAA reports Big Ten’s person-scouting allegations
In a meeting that the Big Ten said “has a lot of unusual features,” NCAA President Charlie Baker called the conference and Michigan, where he said the NCAA “has a very reliable source of broad, multi-year individuals.” -A campus scouting program organized by a non-coaching staff member of the university’s football program.”
On October 19, Yahoo Sports reported on the existence of the investigation. According to Big Ten Commissioner Tony Pettitte’s Nov. 10 letter to Michigan, the call described “the NCAA’s unequivocal statement that the nature and credibility of the evidence they received indicates that the university’s football-related program was improper. The team was ongoing and created a substantial risk of compromising the integrity of football matches this season.
In a statement released that evening, the same day as Yahoo’s report, Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said, “I had no knowledge or information about the University of Michigan football program illegally stealing identities, nor did I advise any staff or others to participate. Scouting off campus.”
October 20: Connor Stallions suspended with pay
Two days after the call, Yahoo Sports named Michigan analyst Connor Stallions as the centerpiece of the in-person scouting allegations and detailed how other Big Ten schools were aware of the plan.
“He’s leading the charge,” the Big Ten coach told Yahoo’s Ross Dellinger. [Stalions]’We know what kind of sh** you do, it’s f*****.
Later that day, Michigan announced that the Stallions had been suspended with pay.
Oct. 24: Yahoo Sports reveals the Stallions have purchased tickets to non-Big Ten games
The individual scouting program isn’t limited to Big Ten opponents. Yahoo Sports revealed that the Stallions purchased tickets for games featuring other Big Ten teams, as well as games featuring teams that could play in the College Football Playoff.
Two days later, Yahoo announced that TCU — Michigan’s semifinal opponent in the College Football Playoff — was aware of the Stallions’ actions and changed its signals ahead of the playoff. TCU defeated Michigan to advance to the national title game.
October 31: Central Michigan announces an investigation into who was on the side
Central Michigan said on Halloween that it was “in the process of determining the facts” about a picture of a man who looked like a Stallion wearing Central Michigan gear on the sidelines of the team’s season-opening game against Michigan State in September.
Michigan beat Michigan State 49-0 in Week 8. The game took place after the Stallions were suspended.
November 2: Big Ten meets Michigan and presents ‘incontrovertible’ evidence
In a conference call that included school and NCAA administrators, the Big Ten said the NCAA “informed the conference and the university that, based on its investigation and the evidence it gathered, the NCAA ‘knows and can prove’ several things.” About Michigan’s private scouting operation. Among those features, he described how the Stallions “participated in and coordinated an extensive off-campus, in-person early scouting program,” and he and others “videotaped the signs used by prospective university opponents while attending opponents’ games in person” and during Michigan games. , Stallions was “in close proximity to varsity coaches, dressed like varsity coaches, on the varsity sideline, and he interacted directly with such coaches.”
The Big Ten later held a conference call with other athletic directors in the conference, as leaders from other schools urged the conference to take action against Michigan.
Later that night, Big Ten, Michigan president Santa Ono asked the conference not to make a ruling until after the results of the NCAA’s investigation because “oral updates from NCAA enforcement staff did not produce evidence.”
November 3: Michigan Connor parted ways with the Stallions
University of Michigan and recruiting analyst Connor Stallions parted ways after a contentious two weeks. The Stallions were accused by several schools of buying tickets in his name for games against future Michigan opponents and transferring them to various friends and acquaintances. The men were seen on various stadium security cameras holding up cellphones during the game, presumably to record signals from assistant coaches.
Michigan released a statement announcing the Stallions’ resignation.
“Connor Stallions resigned his position with Michigan Athletics this afternoon,” the statement read. “We are unable to comment further on this personnel matter.”
November 4: The Big Ten gives Michigan formal notice of a sportsmanship violation
Two days after informing the school that it had “indisputable” evidence of personal theft, the Big Ten gave Michigan its formal notice that the school had violated the conference’s sports policy. In its announcement, the Big Ten said, “These are not isolated or unexpected incidents. The violations were widespread, systematic and occurred over many years.
November 8: Michigan responds to Big Ten announcement
Michigan responded four days after the Big Ten’s announcement. The conference said Michigan “does not deny” the existence of the Stallions program and argued that the Big Ten lacked the authority to regulate the school. The Michigan Big Ten said other teams shared its signals among themselves and “believes it has evidence that other conference members have engaged in auto-stealing.”
November 10: Harbaugh is suspended for three games
Michigan’s response didn’t affect the Big Ten, as Pettitte sent the school a letter outlining why Jim Harbaugh was suspended for three games.
In the letter, the Big Ten said “the existence of an impermissible program has been demonstrated” and that Harbaugh will be allowed to coach in one week but is barred from being sidelined for the remainder of the regular season’s game days.
“Although the conference has not yet received any information indicating that head football coach Harbaugh was aware of the impermissibility of the gesture stealing scheme, we are imposing this disciplinary action. This is not Coach Harbaugh’s permission. It is a sanction against the university that, in the unusual circumstances presented by this offensive conduct, is more appropriate for infringement because: (1) it protects the ability of the university’s football student-athletes to continue to compete; and (2) authorizes the head coach to include the university for the purposes of its football program.
Nov. 11: Judge sets trial for Nov. 17 after Michigan beats Penn State
Michigan immediately pushed back against the Big Ten suspension and in Washtenaw County (Mich.) filed a petition seeking an injunction against the ruling. Judge Tim Connors, assigned to the case, did not issue a ruling before Michigan’s win over Penn State on Saturday and set a trial for Nov. 17.
Michigan and Harbaugh argue that the Big Ten overstepped its bounds in suspending Harbaugh and that the conference lacked evidence to prove Harbaugh violated any rules.
After Michigan’s win over Penn State, interim head coach Sharon Moore gave an emotional interview and paid tribute to Harbaugh.
“I want to thank God. I want to thank Coach Harbaugh. I love you, man. I love the *** out of you, man. We did it for you,” Moore said after the win. “We’ve got the best players, the best university, the best alumni in the country for this university, the president, our AD . . .”
No. 16: Jim Harbaugh agrees to serve 3-game suspension, settles case before court date
Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh has agreed to serve a three-game suspension imposed by the Big Ten amid an investigation into the impermissible, in-person signature theft of a UM football staff member.
That closes the book on the Big Ten’s punishment against Harbaugh, one day before his scheduled court date.
The university released a statement saying the pending lawsuit between UM, Harbaugh and the Big Ten has been resolved. As a result, the Big Ten agreed to end its investigation into Michigan and Harbaugh will serve his full suspension.
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