Will Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh be on the sideline for Saturday’s game against Penn State?
ESPN’s Pete Thamel reports Harbaugh will not be on the sideline for the game against the Nittany Lions because there will not be a ruling on a temporary restraining order today. Instead, the hearing will be held on Friday, Nov. 17, at 9 a.m. ET, just a day before Michigan plays Maryland.
The Big Ten issued a ruling Friday that prohibits Harbaugh from being on the sideline for the remainder of the regular season, and that includes the matchup against the Nittany Lions at Beaver Stadium on Saturday. The University of Michigan, however, has offered support for Harbaugh and will fight that decision.
Michigan issued a statement that rebuked Big Ten commissioner Tony Petitti’s decision to punish Harbaugh as part of an investigation into in-person scouting and sign-stealing. Michigan staffer Connor Stalions, the man at the center of the scandal, resigned on Nov 3.
On Friday night, the university requested a temporary restraining order against the Big Ten in Washtenaw County Trial Court. And while the TRO could still be in play later, it will not be granted in time for the first game of Harbaugh’s suspension.
Why was Jim Harbaugh suspended?
The Big Ten ruling suspended Harbaugh for the institutional violations of Michigan in this case, which is an interesting and mostly unprecedented move considering the NCAA investigation into the program remains open. Harbaugh already served a school-imposed three-game suspension to start the 2023 season following an NCAA investigation into impermissible contact with recruits during COVID-19 dead period.
MORE ON MICHIGAN SIGN-STEALING:
The Big Ten decision, for now, still stands. Harbaugh will not be permitted to be on the sideline for the final three games of the regular-season against No. 10 Penn State, Maryland and No. 1 Ohio State, but he will be able to coach Sunday to Friday during his suspension. Harbaugh would be able to return to the sideline if the Wolverines reach the Big Ten championship game.
“We impose this disciplinary action even though the Conference has not yet received any information indicating that Head Football Coach Harbaugh was aware of the impermissible nature of the sign-stealing scheme,” the Big Ten statement read.
Michigan responded to the Big Ten ruling on Friday afternoon with a strong rebuke of Petitti and the Big Ten’s decision.
“Like all members of the Big Ten Conference, we are entitled to a fair, deliberate, and thoughtful process to determine the full set of facts before a judgment is rendered. Today’s action by Commissioner Tony Petitti disregards the conference’s own handbook, violates basis tenets of due process, and sets an untenable precedent of assessing penalties before an investigation has been completed,” the statement read.
Michigan also pointed to the timing of the decision, with courts closed because of Veteran’s Day. Harbaugh also made the trip with the team to Penn State on Friday afternoon.
“To ensure fairness in process, we intend to seek a court order, together with Coach Harbaugh, preventing this disciplinary action from taking effect,” the statement said.
However, Michigan dropped pending litigation on Nov. 16, accepting Harbaugh’s suspension and ending any hope of having the 59-year-old on the sidelines for the Wolverines’ rivalry game with Ohio State.
Will Jim Harbaugh coach against Penn State on Saturday?
Michigan was hoping to have the TRO granted before Saturday’s game. However, the hearing will not take place in time to allow Harbaugh to coach against Penn State.
Harbaugh was in State College on Saturday and was ready to be escorted to the game if his TRO was granted. When it wasn’t granted, Michigan’s next hope was to secure the ruling during a Nov. 17 hearing, but the school accepted Harbaugh’s suspension and settled the matter a day before the scheduled hearing.