Jim Harbaugh accepts suspension; Big Ten ends Michigan investigation

Field Level Media

November 16, 2023 at 9:17 pm.

Officials at Michigan said the university is dropping its appeal of football coach Jim Harbaugh’s three-game suspension from the Big Ten, ending its litigation against the conference.

In exchange, the Big Ten agreed to close its investigation into allegations of sign-stealing.

The university was seeking an injunction that would have allowed Harbaugh to be on the sideline Saturday against Maryland, and the two sides were due in court on Friday.

“This morning, the University, Coach Harbaugh, and the Big Ten resolved their pending litigation. The Conference agreed to close its investigation, and the University and Coach Harbaugh agreed to accept the three-game suspension,” read Michigan’s statement, which added Harbaugh “decided to accept this sanction to return the focus to our student-athletes and their performance on the field.”

The Big Ten suspended Harbaugh for three games last Friday amid an investigation into allegations of sign-stealing and in-person scouting by at least one former member of his staff. At the time, the Big Ten said there was no evidence linking Harbaugh to wrongdoing but that he was suspended as the face of the program.

“The Conference has confirmed that it is not aware of any information suggesting Coach Harbaugh’s involvement in the allegations,” Michigan’s statement read. “The University continues to cooperate fully with the NCAA’s investigation.”

In its own statement, the Big Ten said Michigan’s action is “indicative of the high standards and values that the Conference and the University seek to uphold.

“The University of Michigan is a valued member of the Big Ten Conference and the Conference will continue to work cooperatively with the University and the NCAA during this process,” the statement said.

The Big Ten suspension was only for games, meaning Harbaugh can coach in practice throughout the week. He was not present when No. 3 Michigan defeated then-No. 10 Penn State on the road.

The Wolverines travel to Maryland this weekend and then face No. 2 Ohio State at home, with a berth in the Big Ten title game — and potentially the College Football Playoff — on the line.

Offensive coordinator Sherrone Moore, who led the Wolverines against Penn State, will be the interim head coach against Maryland. A win would give Michigan football its 1,000th victory in school history.