Michigan is going with a full head-coaching carousel to replace Jim Harbaugh during his three-game suspension.
Whereas most schools replace a suspended coach with a singular top assistant as the interim head coach, the Wolverines will have one or two head coaches for each game against a notably soft nonconference slate.
Defensive coordinator Jesse Minter will coach against East Carolina, safeties coach/special-teams coordinator Jay Harbaugh (Jim's son) will coach the first half vs. UNLV, running backs coach/run game coordinator Mike Hart will coach the second half vs. UNLV and offensive coordinator Sherrone Moore will coach against Bowling Green.
Director of strength and conditioning Ben Herbert has also added an associate head coach title, and Harbaugh's father, Jack, a longtime head coach at Western Michigan and Western Kentucky, will come out of retirement to serve as assistant head coach.
This was all announced with some very aggressive graphics on social media.
— Michigan Football (@UMichFootball) August 24, 2023
Michigan self-imposed a three-game suspension for Harbaugh earlier this week for making what the NCAA deemed false statements as investigators probed alleged recruiting violations that occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic dead period.
That came after a tentative agreement with the NCAA for a four-game suspension fell through due to what Yahoo Sports’ Dan Wetzel reported as hurdles amid negotiations. The case is now headed for the NCAA's disciplinary system, with a resolution likely to come after this season.
While the case has become publicly known as Harbaugh allegedly lying about getting cheeseburgers with recruits, the NCAA has pushed back on that narrative and instead pointed to a wider array of activities, via Wetzel:
"The Michigan infractions case is related to impermissible on- and off-campus recruiting during the COVID-19 dead period and impermissible coaching activities — not a cheeseburger,” said Derrick Crawford, NCAA vice president, hearing operations. “It is not uncommon for the [Committee on Infractions] to seek clarification on key facts prior to accepting. ... If the involved parties cannot resolve a case through the negotiated resolution process, it may proceed to a hearing, but the committee believes cooperation is the best avenue to quickly resolve issues.”
The case is reportedly centered on alleged Level II NCAA violations by Harbaugh and his staff, with minor-to-moderate offenses such as meeting with recruits during a so-called dead period, watching workouts on Zoom and having too many analysts participate in on-field practice coaching.