An industry source told Yahoo Sports that an agreement between the NCAA and Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh regarding penalties stemmed from what the NCAA deemed false statements Harbaugh made to investigators.
Harbaugh and the NCAA reached a tentative decision that would see the coach suspend four games to start the 2023 season. A number of former assistants were also sanctioned.
The deal still needs to be approved by the NCAA’s Infractions Committee. Many thought it would be a formality.
However, hurdles arose and the deal has now been halted, according to sources.
Instead, the case will travel further through the NCAA’s disciplinary system, almost certainly at some point in 2024. Harbaugh is now expected to coach every game of the Wolverines season. Michigan opens at home Sept. 2 against East Carolina.
The case centers around alleged NCAA Level II violations by Harbaugh and his staff that include meeting with recruits during a so-called death period, watching drills on Zoom and having too many analysts participate in field practice training. Each of these is considered minor to moderate infractions that would normally result in limited penalties.
During the investigation, the NCAA alleges that Harbaugh was not forthcoming with investigators and therefore charged a Level 1 violation to the case, which requires tougher penalties, including suspension.
Harbaugh and the NCAA appear to have struck a deal that will see him sit out four games — or a third of the season.
Michigan has reached the college football playoffs in succession. She is ranked #2 in the USA Today Coaches Poll, and is considered a contender for both the Big Ten and national championships. This will be Harpo’s ninth season at his alma mater.
If the case is heard in 2024, it is uncertain if Harbaugh will still be Michigan’s head coach. In each of the past two seasons, he has discussed returning to the NFL and is likely to attract professional interest again.