May 28, 2024

Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh may avoid a suspension when the Big Ten issues its discipline in connection to the ongoing sign-stealing scandal surrounding the program, according to ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg.

Rittenberg reported the conference “has considered a suspension” but added it’s looking at other avenues including a “significant fine.”

As the saga has unfolded, reports surfaced detailing how Big Ten coaches and university administrators were pressing conference commissioner Tony Petitti to act. ESPN’s Pete Thamel described Nov. 4 on College GameDay a suspension for Harbaugh as the “most likely scenario” if the Big Ten chose to hand down any punishment.

Latest on the Big Ten’s potential punishment of Michigan in the sign stealing investigation. Expect clarity in the upcoming days, with a suspension of Jim Harbaugh looming as the most likely punishment.

Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde and Richard Johnson reported Tuesday the school received two single-page documents from a former Big Ten coach that included the Wolverines’ sideline signals and their accompanying explanations.

“The former coach shared the documents with Michigan in an attempt to show that signal-stealing is pervasive in the sport and to support embattled head coach Jim Harbaugh, a source familiar with the situation said,” per Forde and Johnson.

Dan Wetzel and Ross Dellenger of Yahoo Sports followed up Wednesday to report Michigan wrote a 10-page letter to the Big Ten responding to the conference’s notice of disciplinary action.

The school told Petitti it believes the Big Ten is making a rush to judgment thanks to the public outcry and doesn’t have enough evidence to support any finding of wrongdoing.

Michigan has three games left in the regular season, two of which are the toughest on its schedule. The Wolverines hit the road to play No. 10 Penn State on Saturday and host No. 1 Ohio State on Nov. 25.

Losing Harbaugh to a suspension between now and the end of the year would be a potentially devastating blow to Michigan’s hopes of reaching the College Football Playoff or lifting a 12th national title.

Even if the dollar amount is “significant,” a fine would be far from the worst-case scenario for the coach.

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