An agreement between the NCAA and Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh regarding penalties stemming from what the NCAA deemed were false statements Harbaugh made to investigators, an industry source told Yahoo Sports.
Harbaugh and the NCAA reached a tentative decision that would see the coach suspend four games to start the 2023 season. Multiple former assistants were also sanctioned.
The deal still needs to be approved by the NCAA’s Infractions Committee. Many thought it would be a formality.
However, hurdles arose and the deal has now been halted, according to sources.
Instead, the case will travel further through the NCAA’s disciplinary system, almost certainly at some point in 2024. Harbaugh is now expected to coach every game of the Wolverines season. Michigan opens at home Sept. 2 against East Carolina.
“The Michigan infraction case concerns impermissible on- and off-campus recruiting during the COVID-19 death period and impermissible coaching activities — not a cheeseburger,” said Derek Crawford, NCAA Vice President, Hearing Operations. (Violations Committee) to request clarification on basic facts prior to acceptance. … If the parties involved cannot resolve the issue through the negotiated settlement process, it may proceed to a hearing, but the Commission believes that cooperation is the best way to expedite the resolution of problems.”
The case centers around alleged NCAA Level II violations by Harbaugh and his staff that include meeting with recruits during a so-called death period, watching drills on Zoom and having too many analysts participate in on-the-field practice training. Each of these is considered minor to moderate infractions that would normally result in limited penalties.
During the investigation, the NCAA alleges that Harbaugh was not forthcoming with investigators and therefore charged a Level 1 violation to the case, which requires tougher penalties, including suspension.
Harbaugh and the NCAA appear to have struck a deal that will see him sit out four games — or a third of the season.
Michigan has reached the college football playoffs in succession. She is ranked #2 in the USA Today Coaches Poll, and is considered a contender for both the Big Ten and national championships. This would be Harbaugh’s ninth season coaching at his alma mater.
If the case is heard in 2024, it is uncertain if Harbaugh will still be Michigan’s head coach. In each of the past two seasons, he has discussed returning to the NFL and is likely to attract professional interest again.