The University of Michigan has reportedly issued a self-imposed three-game suspension for head football coach Jim Harbaugh in relation to his reported NCAA violations, sources with knowledge of the situation told On3.com's Chris Balas on Monday (August 21).
Harbaugh, 59, was issued a level one violation, which is considered to be "severe breach of conduct," for allegedly misleading investigators during a probe into accusations that he had improper contact with a recruit, which escalated his actions from a level 2 violation, which is deemed a "significant breach of conduct," according to NCAA guidelines. The University of Michigan and the NCAA were previously working on a four-game suspension which were reportedly rejected by the committee on infractions.
Harbaugh is accused of buying a recruit a burger during the COVID-related dead period, which has led to a debate on the severity of the punishment.
“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, the NCAA vice president of hearing operations, via On3.com. “It is not uncommon for the COI to seek clarification on key facts prior to accepting.
“The COI may also reject a [negotiated resolution] if it determines that the agreement is not in the best interests of the Association or the penalties are not reasonable. 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.”
Harbaugh will reported miss the first three games of Michigan's season, which includes a Sept. 2 matchup against ECU, a September 9 game against UNLV and a September 16 matchup against Bowling Green. The Wolverines are coming off two of their best seasons since Harbaugh -- a former Michigan quarterback -- took over as the head coach of his alma mater in 2015.
Michigan won the Big Ten and appeared in the College Football Playoff for the second consecutive year before being eliminated by TCU in a 51-45 loss on December 31. Harbaugh had publicly announced his intention to stay with the Wolverines in January amid reported potential interest from NFL teams prior to the initial report of his violations.