ESPNNov 11, 2023, 10:40 AM ET4 Minute Read
Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh was not on the sideline for the third-ranked Wolverines’ 24-15 victory over No. 10 Penn State as a ruling was not given Saturday on a temporary restraining order that was filed Friday night.
Harbaugh served the first game of a three-game suspension that was handed down Friday by the Big Ten as punishment for Michigan being found to have violated the conference’s sportsmanship policy by using advanced scouting to steal opponents’ signs. In response to the penalty, attorneys representing Michigan and Harbaugh filed a breach of contract complaint Friday night, asking a judge in the state to prevent the Big Ten from imposing a suspension on Harbaugh this weekend.
An in-person hearing for the temporary restraining order is scheduled for next Friday at 9 am, according to a person familiar with the court filings.
“We look forward to presenting our case next week where we intend to demonstrate that the Big Ten has not acted legally or fairly,” Michigan said in a statement Saturday.
Harbaugh is allowed to coach the team during the week but is prohibited from being present at the Wolverines’ games.
The ban covers the final three games of Michigan’s regular season. Following the victory at Penn State, the remaining two are at Maryland and at home against rival Ohio State.
Offensive coordinator Sherrone Moore served as Michigan’s acting head coach for Saturday’s win that pushed the Wolverines to 10-0.
A tearful Moore thanked Harbaugh after the game and praised the team’s players, university officials and supporters.
Running back Blake Corum powered Michigan with two rushing touchdowns and said the team is unified as it plays without its coach.
“Everything that’s going on right now just brings us closer together,” Corum said.
Prior to Saturday’s game, athletic director Warde Manuel issued the strongest statement from Michigan regarding the investigation into illegal sign stealing.
“You may have removed him from our sidelines today, but Jim Harbaugh is our head football coach,” Manuel said. “We look forward to defending Jim’s right to coach our football team at the hearing on Friday. He has instilled his pride, passion, and the team’s belief in themselves to achieve greatness. I will continue to support Jim throughout this process, my coaches and staff, and especially our student-athletes as we continue to play this game and fight to win for Michigan and all who love us.”
Manuel took issue with the disciplinary process that led to Harbaugh’s suspension.
“Yesterday, under the guise of the NCAA Rule regarding Head Coach Responsibility the Big Ten decided to penalize Coach Harbaugh without knowing all the facts, and I find that completely unethical, insulting to a well-established process within the NCAA, and an assault on the rights of everyone (especially in the Big Ten) to be judged by a fair and complete investigation,” Manuel said. “Not liking someone or another university or believing without any evidence that they knew or saying someone should have known without an investigation is not grounds to remove someone from their position before the NCAA process has reached a conclusion through a full NCAA investigative process.
“All of the Head Coaches in the Big Ten (some who have been accused of actively participating in the trading of signals of opponents) and my Big Ten AD colleagues can rejoice today that someone was ‘held accountable,’ but they should be worried about the new standard of judgment (without complete investigation) that has been unleashed in this conference.”