Guess we didn't get that awkward moment after all.
Big Ten commissioner Tony Petitti would normally hand the silver football-shaped trophy to the head coach of the winning team.
There's just one problem. Petitti had suspended Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh for the program's sign-stealing scheme a few weeks ago. In fact, Saturday's game was Harbaugh's first back on the sideline since the suspension, which the school originally tried to fight in court but later backed off.
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So, when Fox's Joel Klatt was cued to moderate "the moment," it ended up not happening. Klatt said that Petitti, who was roundly booed by the partisan Michigan crowd and didn't exactly stand front in center on the stage set up on the field, wouldn't hand things off to Harbaugh.
"To present tonight's championship trophy, Coach Harbaugh wanted it to go to Zak Zinter. So the commissioner of the Big Ten, Tony Petitti, the trophy, to 65, Zak Zinter," Klatt said.
The Big Ten Championship trophy was presented to Zak Zinter instead of Jim Harbaugh.
Harbaugh and Tony Petitti did exchange a handshake prior to the presentation, though. pic.twitter.com/AXWydoGptP
— Tom VanHaaren (@TomVH) December 3, 2023
Zinter, the senior captain and offensive lineman who suffered season ending leg breaks in last week's game against Ohio State, was cheered when he held the trophy aloft.
Awkward moment averted.
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Michigan's Jim Harbaugh passes on encounter with Big Ten commissioner