Harbaugh accepts sign-stealing suspension

RALPH D. RUSSO and LARRY LAGE Associated Press

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Michigan announced Thursday that coach Jim Harbaugh will announce a three-game suspension from the Big Ten and the conference will end its investigation into a sign-stealing scheme as part of an agreement to settle the school’s lawsuit against the league. .

Harbaugh was suspended last Friday by the Big Ten and hours later Michigan asked a court for an injunction and a temporary restraining order. Harbaugh did not coach the team against Penn State on Saturday.

Both sides were expected to be in court Friday in Ann Arbor, but instead Harbaugh will serve the remainder of the suspension, missing games at Maryland on Saturday and at home against Ohio State on Nov. 25.

“Coach Harbaugh, with the support of the university, decided to accept this sanction to return the focus to our student-athletes and their performance on the field,” Michigan said in a statement. “The conference confirmed that it is not aware of any information suggesting that Coach Harbaugh is involved in the allegations. The university continues to cooperate fully with the NCAA’s investigation.”

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The NCAA probe came to light four weeks ago amid allegations that Michigan used a strong personal scouting and signal-stealing operation by low-level staff member Connor Stallions, who has since resigned. The Big Ten said at the time that it was also looking into the allegations.

The NCAA process is moving slowly, but the Ten Road rules allowed Commissioner Tony Petitti to hand over control more quickly. He hit Harbaugh with a three-game suspension and the school immediately challenged the decision.

University leaders made the material decision to settle the case because the Big Ten would not agree to reduce the suspension to two games, the school did not want to drag the fight into court and negotiated to close the conference investigation. , according to a person familiar with the situation. The person spoke to The Associated Press on Thursday on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to share the school’s rationale.

Along with a three-game school suspension for an unrelated recruiting-related NCAA infractions case, Harbaugh will miss half the Wolverines’ regular season games this season, but could be back on the sidelines if they make the Big Ten championship game. .

No. 2 Michigan is one of the favorites to win a national title and is looking for its third straight Big Ten championship and a College Football Playoff appearance.

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