Michigan will be without its head coach for Saturday’s matchup with Penn State.
The Big Ten announced Friday afternoon it has suspended Jim Harbaugh for three games due to the sign-stealing scandal involving former Michigan staffer Connor Stalions. The scandal violated the sportsmanship policy because the program conducted “an impermissible, in-person scouting operation over multiple years,” according to the news release from the conference.
The suspension pertains only to games, not practices, and took effect immediately. Michigan filed for a temporary restraining order Friday night in an attempt to prevent the suspension from taking effect, according to the Detroit Free Press, but it reportedly won’t be ruled on in time for the Penn State game.
A hearing will be held Nov. 17 on the matter, according to ESPN.
The person familiar with the court filings tells ESPN there's an in-person hearing on Nov. 17th scheduled for 9 a.m. https://t.co/B3VRX8o72N
— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) November 11, 2023
Michigan’s filing didn’t come as a surprise, as the possibility was raised earlier Friday in a statement from the university, which railed against the decision to suspend Harbaugh.
“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,” U-M wrote in a statement to the CDT. “We are dismayed at the Commissioner’s rush to judgment 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.”
Stalions was allegedly buying tickets to games of future opponents in order to have their play signals recorded to then be decoded ahead of a future matchup.
He reportedly gave someone tickets to the Nittany Lions’ games against UMass and Indiana. The UMass game happened before news of the scandal broke and was attended by the person — who told ESPN in a story published on Oct. 27 they did not plan to attend the Indiana game.
Petitti said in an open letter Friday to Michigan’s athletic director that this may not be the only consequence to come from the scandal.
“The Conference recognizes that additional disciplinary actions may be necessary or appropriate if it receives additional information concerning the scope and knowledge of, or participation in, the impermissible scheme,” said the letter signed by Petitti.
A Penn State athletics spokesperson declined to comment Friday. And James Franklin declined to directly address the scandal during Monday’s weekly press conference.
“I’m focused on all the stuff I see on film,” Franklin said earlier this week. “That’s what we’re focused on, is all the stuff we see on film — their players, their scheme. All the stuff, when I say see on film, what we see on the coach’s copy of the stuff that’s going on between the sidelines, the 53 1/3 (yards), that’s what we’re focused on.”