Michigan Head Coach Jim Harbaugh May Avoid Suspension in Sign-Stealing Scandal
Big Ten Considers Fine Instead of Suspension
Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh may escape suspension as the Big Ten Conference deliberates on its discipline for the ongoing sign-stealing scandal surrounding the program. According to ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg, the conference is exploring alternatives, including imposing a significant fine.
The controversy has prompted Big Ten coaches and university administrators to pressure conference commissioner Tony Petitti for action. ESPN’s Pete Thamel, speaking on College GameDay, suggested that a suspension for Harbaugh is the most probable outcome if the Big Ten decides to impose any punishment.
Michigan, however, is not staying silent. Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde and Richard Johnson reported that the school received two single-page documents from a former Big Ten coach. These documents contained the Wolverines’ sideline signals and their accompanying explanations. The former coach shared these documents with Michigan to demonstrate that signal-stealing is widespread in the sport and to support Harbaugh, who is currently under fire.
In response, the school informed Petitti that it believes the Big Ten is rushing to judgment due to public outcry and lacks sufficient evidence to support any allegations of wrongdoing.
Michigan has three remaining regular-season games, two of which are against tough opponents. The Wolverines will face No. 10 Penn State on the road this Saturday and host No. 1 Ohio State on November 25. Losing Harbaugh to a suspension during this critical period could severely impact Michigan’s chances of reaching the College Football Playoff or securing a 12th national title.
While a significant fine would still be a blow to the coach, it would be a preferable outcome compared to a suspension.