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Michigan makes big accusation against Big Ten in Jim Harbaugh suspension response

A Michigan Wolverines helmet

Dec 30, 2016; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; A Michigan Wolverines football helmet sits on the field prior to the game between the Florida State Seminoles and the Michigan Wolverines at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

As expected, the University of Michigan is not taking the Big Ten’s suspension of Jim Harbaugh lying down.

The school issued a fiery response on Friday, shortly after the conference announced that Harbaugh would be suspended for the remainder of the regular season in light of Michigan’s sign-stealing scandal. In a statement, Michigan accused Big Ten commissioner Tony Petitti of “(violating) basic tenets of due process” as part of a “rush to judgment” during an ongoing NCAA investigation.

The school confirmed that it would seek a court order to block the Big Ten’s efforts to impose discipline, and outright accused Petitti of waiting until Friday to make his announcement so that Michigan could not seek emergency relief in court. Federal courts are closed on Friday in observance of Veterans Day, giving Michigan no route to take the Big Ten to court prior to Saturday’s game at Penn State.

“By taking this action at this hour, the Commissioner is personally inserting himself onto the sidelines and altering the level playing field that he is claiming to preserve,” the statement says. “And, doing so on Veteran’s Day – a court holiday – to try to thwart the University from seeking immediate judicial relief is hardly a profile in impartiality.”

Michigan had previously made very clear that they would go to court over any Harbaugh suspension, so this is not a surprise. The Big Ten was also well aware of this, and their letter notifying Michigan of the suspension makes clear that they are prepared to defend their position on legal grounds.


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