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Big Ten suspends Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh amid sign-stealing investigation

Big Ten suspends Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh amid sign-stealing investigation
Big Ten suspends Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh amid sign-stealing investigation 00:42

(CBS DETROIT) - The Big Ten announced on Friday that Michigan Wolverines coach Jim Harbaugh has been suspended for the final three games of the 2023 season amid an investigation of alleged sign-stealing.

In a statement, the conference said, "The University of Michigan has been found in violation of the Big Ten Sportsmanship Policy for conducting an impermissible, in-person scouting operation over multiple years, resulting in an unfair competitive advantage that compromised the integrity of competition."

The conference said effective immediately, Harbaugh is not allowed to be on the sidelines on the day of the remaining games but can still attend practices or other football team activities.

Notice of Disciplinary Action Against the University of Michigan by CBS Detroit on Scribd

Harbaugh, who served a three-game, university-imposed suspension earlier this season for an unrelated and still unresolved NCAA violations case tied to recruiting, has denied any knowledge or involvement in impermissible scouting of opponents.

The suspension comes a day before No. 2 Michigan takes on No. 9 Penn State at noon on Saturday. The other two games are scheduled for Nov. 18 against Maryland and Nov. 25 against Ohio State.

U of M issued the following statement:

"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 basic tenets of due process, and sets an untenable precedent of assessing penalties before an investigation has been completed. We are dismayed at the Commissioner's rush to judgment when there is an ongoing NCAA investigation – one in which we are fully cooperating.

"Commissioner Petitti's hasty action today suggests that this is more about reacting to pressure from other Conference members than a desire to apply the rules fairly and impartially. By taking this action at this hour, the Commissioner is personally inserting himself onto the sidelines and altering the level playing field that he is claiming to preserve. And, doing so on Veterans Day – a court holiday – to try to thwart the University from seeking immediate judicial relief is hardly a profile in impartiality. To ensure fairness in the process, we intend to seek a court order, together with Coach Harbaugh, preventing this disciplinary action from taking effect."  

Hours after Harbaugh was suspended, the University of Michigan filed a temporary restraining order in the Washtenaw County 22nd Circuit Court.

Last month, the NCAA notified the Big Ten that it was investigating the allegation against Harbaugh and the university. 

Michigan football staffer Connor Stalions was suspended after the investigation reportedly turned up videos of and documented plans and budgets for the scouting of the Wolverines' opponents. 

Multiple Big Ten schools found records of tickets purchased in Stalions' name to their games and surveillance video of the people sitting in those seats pointing cell phones toward the field.

Additionally, photos circulating on the internet suggest Stalions was on the Central Michigan sideline during the Sept. 1 game against Michigan State, wearing CMU gear and sunglasses.

Stalions was listed as a recruiting analyst for Michigan and had a LinkedIn account that said he was hired by the football program in 2022.   

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