Why Did John Harbaugh Get Suspended? Michigan Coach Faces Suspension and NCAA Scrutiny

As coach Jim Harbaugh awaited news on a possible punishment, it was a summer of worry for a Michigan team looking to end the season with a championship.

After a plan to ban Harbaugh for four games fell through, it was assumed that the ninth-year coach would not be penalized at all in 2023. That is not the case, as many outlets have stated that Harbaugh will miss Michigan’s first three games of the season.

For the second year in a row, Michigan’s offseason began with worries about Harbaugh’s future, as he met with the Broncos twice about their head coaching post. Harbaugh was on the verge of leaving Michigan to coach the Vikings in 2022. With Harbaugh’s suspension finalized, the Wolverines can finally concentrate on football as they attempt to go two steps further than they did last season. Here’s what you need to know about Harbaugh’s suspension and the reason behind it.


Jim Harbaugh Suspension, Explained

On Aug. 21, Harbaugh informed his players that the school would impose a three-game suspension, effective immediately. Michigan confirmed the move, calling it “our way of addressing mistakes in an attempt to further” the NCAA investigation.

The school imposed its own punishment in an attempt to satisfy the NCAA and bring an end to a drama that began with recruiting violations.

The NCAA’s decision to pursue a suspension was not motivated by recruiting infractions; rather, the NCAA discovered that Harbaugh lied to investigators during the organization’s investigation, prompting Michigan to negotiate a suspension with the organization.

With that settlement off the table, Michigan hopes to put the matter to rest in 2023 rather than face an NCAA sanction in 2024. Harbaugh remarked on his punishment but didn’t say much, merely stating, “Don’t get bitter, get better.”

Harbaugh is scheduled to miss home games against East Carolina, UNLV, and Bowling Green, so the impact of his suspension is likely to be small. No interim head coach has been named as of yet.

Jim Harbaugh NCAA Violations

In addition to deceiving investigators, Harbaugh was charged with a number of Level II breaches by the NCAA. These are some of the violations:

  • Practices with too many coaches on the field.
  • Contacting prospects during the COVID-19 dead period.
  • Unauthorized video observation of practices.

When a receipt for cheeseburgers at The Brown Jug appeared, the NCAA became aware of potential violations. During the COVID-19 dead period, Harbaugh allegedly enjoyed a meal with two recruits. According to the NCAA, the meeting was illegal, and Harbaugh’s apparent attempt to cover it up was the most serious violation.

“The Michigan infractions case is related to impermissible on- and off-campus recruiting during the COVID-19 dead period, as well as impermissible coaching activities — not a cheeseburger,” NCAA Vice President of hearing operations Derrick Crawford stated in an August statement.

Why Did John Harbaugh Get Suspended?
Why Did John Harbaugh Get Suspended?

While reports indicate that Crawford lied to investigators in order to avoid paying for a cheeseburger, Crawford’s admission does not mean that the cheeseburger receipt did not alert the NCAA to “illegal on and off-campus recruiting.”

You can check the details of other articles below:

Michigan football schedule 2023

Harbaugh will miss Michigan’s home games against East Carolina, UNLV, and Bowling Green, but he will return for the start of the Big Ten season.

In Harbaugh’s 2023 coaching debut, the Wolverines visit Rutgers before traveling to Nebraska and Minnesota.

Date Opponent Time (ET)
Sep. 2 East Carolina Noon
Sep. 9 UNLV 3:30 p.m.
Sep. 16 Bowling Green 7:30 p.m.
Sep. 23 Rutgers Noon
Sep. 30 @ Nebraska TBD
Oct. 7 @ Minnesota TBD
Oct. 14 Indiana TBD
Oct. 21 @ Michigan State TBD
Nov. 4 Purdue TBD
Nov. 11 @ Penn State Noon
Nov. 18 @ Maryland TBD
Nov. 25 Ohio State Noon

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