Jim Harbaugh facing suspension from NCAA?
Jim Harbaugh issued a statement on Thursday that indicated he plans to remain at Michigan, and the commitment came at a time when he is at the center of an NCAA investigation.
Michigan is being investigated by the NCAA for possible violations during the COVID-19 recruiting dead period, according to a report from Adam Rittenberg and Mark Schlabach of ESPN.
The NCAA is looking into whether Michigan made impermissible contact with recruits during the NCAA-mandated dead periods. The Wolverines are also being investigated for potentially using a defensive analyst for on-field coaching activities, which is not permitted.
Harbaugh’s cooperation with the investigation is also being examined by the NCAA. ESPN reports that a draft of notice of allegations, which has not yet been given to Michigan, includes a Level I violation for Harbaugh not complying or misleading investigators. Level I violations are the most serious. The draft also includes Level II violations related to Michigan possibly recruiting during the COVID dead period.
Recent reports have claimed Harbaugh is considering a return to the NFL and has spoken with at least one team. Harbaugh addressed the rumors in a statement on Thursday and seemed to commit to Michigan, though he did not completely shut the door on coaching in the NFL again.
If the NCAA is preparing to potentially drop the hammer on Harbaugh, it is fair to wonder how that will impact his decision. On one hand, he may not want to deal with major sanctions. On the other, Harbaugh could feel inclined to stay at Michigan and face whatever disciplinary action he might have coming.