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Michigan Faces Probation for Football Recruiting Violations; Case vs. Jim Harbaugh Pending
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By Associated Press
Published 1 month ago on
April 16, 2024

Michigan faces NCAA sanctions including probation and recruiting limits after impermissible contacts during the pandemic. (AP/Eric Gay)

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Michigan’s NCAA Sanctions

Michigan was given three years of probation, fined and hit with recruiting limits by the NCAA on Tuesday after football coaches and staff had impermissible contact with recruits and players under coach Jim Harbaugh while access was restricted during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The NCAA said it had reached a negotiated resolution with the school that has been approved by the committee on infractions involving five former and current coaches and staffers, but it did not include allegations that Harbaugh failed to cooperate with investigators. That is now a separate case.

“We are pleased to reach a resolution on this matter so that our student-athletes and our football program can move forward. We have no additional information and cannot comment further on other aspects of the NCAA’s inquiries,” Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel said in statement.

Separate Cases and Potential Consequences

The recruiting case is also separate from the NCAA’s investigation into impermissible in-person scouting and sign stealing that roiled Michigan’s national championship season in 2023, and resulted in a three-game suspension of Harbaugh by the Big Ten.

The two cases could open up Michigan to being deemed a repeat violator by the NCAA, which could trigger harsher sanctions. The fine was not announced, though NCAA guidelines call for a fine of $5,000 for mitigated Level I violations.

After leading Michigan to its first national championship since 1997, Harbaugh left his alma mater earlier this year to become coach of the Los Angeles Chargers. The NCAA did not name him in Tuesday’s announcement.

“The negotiated resolution also involved the school’s agreement that the underlying violations demonstrated a head coach responsibility violation and the former football head coach failed to meet his responsibility to cooperate with the investigation,” the NCAA said. “The school also agreed that it failed to deter and detect the impermissible recruiting contacts and did not ensure that the football program adhered to rules for noncoaching staff members.”

Final Decision Pending

The committee said a final decision, including potential violations and penalties for the former coach, was pending.

Besides the three-game suspension for Harbaugh, Michigan also imposed one-game suspensions for then-offensive coordinator Sherrone Moore and assistant Grant Newsome related to the impermissible contact case. Moore, who went 4-0 filling for Harbaugh during his two suspensions, was promoted to head coach after Harbaugh left for the NFL.

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