If Michigan football forces its own head coach out over this sign-stealing scandal, it will be all-time dumb. Just give Jim Harbaugh a new deal.
It suggests that there was information on computers that could be accessed by Michigan football coaches. It also said that this outside party, which somehow got access to Michigan computers, didn’t provide any evidence of Jim Harbaugh being connected to it.
At any rate, with the NCAA getting access to Michigan football staff cell phones and tablets (according to the Detroit News), I’m sure we’ll find out soon enough.
If Harbaugh lied in his statement, it’s going to look bad. It might even lead to the end of his career at Michigan — probably not because he gets fired but because a lack of support could finally push him out the door if an NFL offer comes.
I don’t see Michigan football having to vacate wins. It’s always possible but remember, despite all this evidence, in-person scouting is still a minor violation.
Even if it’s not proven that Harbaugh was directly involved, as in giving the orders, he will get hit for a lack of institutional control. But if Michigan was Kansas or North Carolina or heck, even Ohio State, there would be zero talk of him being done as the head coach.
That’s because those schools would back their head coach, which is what Michigan should do with Jim Harbaugh. None of this precludes Michigan from signing him to the extension that was being talked about as recently as last week, which Chris Balas of The Wolverine reported was about 50/50 in terms of support among the administration, at least before the Washington Post report.
Language can be included in the contract for violations of NCAA rules, etc. That stuff is generally in contracts anyway, allowing schools the chance to fire someone with cause.
But firing Harbaugh or forcing him out over this would be incredibly dumb. Regardless of all the NCAA leaks to the media, we are still a long way from the punishment phase of this.
So instead of being reactive, Michigan should just sign Jim Harbaugh to a new deal. If he did something nefarious in this scandal, that should give the Wolverines an out.
Yet, the worst result from all of this would be Michigan football losing Jim Harbaugh as its head coach, so I’m just hoping Warde Manuel and the administration don’t shoot the program in the foot.