Michigan football fans have been waiting for word from the Big Ten on Jim Harbaugh and as of Friday morning, we are still waiting.
Michigan football has pushed back hard against the Big Ten’s efforts to suspend Jim Harbaugh and the program responded to the Big Ten’s allegations and its “evidence” with a pair of letters sent on Wednesday.
There was a 10-page letter from the University of Michigan, signed by Warde Manuel, as well as a letter from Tom Mars, who is representing Jim Harbaugh.
Basically, the Big Ten is trying to use the sportsmanship rule in a way it has never done, as a way of getting around the NCAA investigation to punish Michigan football.
The Big Ten is also trying to use the NCAA rule about the head coach responsibility to justify a suspension of Jim Harbaugh — even though that wouldn’t be a violation of the sportsmanship rule — it’s an NCAA violation, which requires the league to follow certain procedures.
Those procedures and due process rights can’t be skipped because the rest of the league is mad at Michigan football. By-laws are by-laws for a reason and four flimsy pieces of evidence, which is all the Big Ten has supplied, none of which connects in any way to Jim Harbaugh, is all that is being used to justify this punishment.
There haven’t been any interviews with coaches or anyone inside the program. It’s clear there hasn’t been an investigation. Instead, there has been a rush to judgment, but maybe the Big Ten is rethinking things.
According to ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg, the Big Ten is still considering different possibilities, including a significant fine. Of course, a suspension could still come Friday, although Jim Harbaugh and Michgan football are still expected to pursue an injunction through the courts.
And since the Big Ten is thoroughly violating its rules to punish Jim Harbaugh, there’s a strong chance they will succeed. According to Heather Dinich, a decision is expected this afternoon. Hopefully, the league does the right thing or this will get incredibly ugly.