Michigan said Friday that it would seek a temporary restraining order to prevent the Big Ten’s suspension of Jim Harbaugh from immediately taking effect.
The conference suspended Harbaugh for the final three games of the regular season because of the in-person sign-stealing scheme at the university that was allegedly led by former staffer Connor Stalions. In its response to the suspension, Michigan said that it had been cooperating fully with the NCAA’s investigation into the sign-stealing accusations and that the Big Ten’s actions “violates basic tenets of due process.”
No. 3 Michigan is set to play at No. 10 Penn State at Noon ET on Saturday.
“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,” Michigan said. “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, in doing so on Veteran’s 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.”
Per Yahoo Sports’ Ross Dellenger and Dan Wetzel, offensive coordinator Sherrone Moore is expected to be the team’s interim head coach in Harbaugh’s absence.
Michigan enters Saturday’s game at 9-0 and Harbaugh spent the first three games away from the team because of a self-imposed suspension relating to a different NCAA investigation. Michigan easily won those three games against overmatched non-conference opponents.