Big Ten issues penalty to Michigan after violation of sportsmanship policy over in-person scouting 

Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh will be suspended for the remainder of the regular season as the Big Ten Conference announced Friday that the Wolverines program violated the conference’s sportsmanship policy. 

The conference handed out discipline to the Michigan program after alleged sign stealing involving a since-fired staff member, Connor Stalions. Stalions allegedly purchased tickets to at least 30 games since the 2021 season, including the past two Southeastern Conference championship games. 

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The Big Ten found that Michigan had conducted “an impermissible, in-person scouting operation over multiple years, resulting in an unfair competitive advantage that compromised the integrity of competition,” according to a release. 

Harbaugh will not be allowed on the sidelines for the final three regular-season games, including the final one against No. 1 Ohio State on Nov. 25. 

“This disciplinary action shall not preclude the University or its football team from having its Head Football Coach attend practices or other football team activities other than the game activities to which it applies,” the release stated. “For clarity, the Head Football Coach shall not be present at the game venue on the dates of the games to which this disciplinary action applies.” 

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Michigan stated it intends to seek a temporary restraining order to allow Harbaugh to continue coaching, according to Adam Rittenberg of ESPN

“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 stated. “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 Veteran’s Day — a court holiday — to ty 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.” 

This is a developing story and will be updated.