A potential negotiated resolution in the NCAA infractions case involving the Michigan football program broke down this week after the NCAA demanded head coach Jim Harbaugh state that he lied to investigators, multiple sources told Yahoo Sports.
According to sources, Harbaugh has acknowledged his program committed four Level II violations, as the NCAA initially alleged. He has further apologized to the university that they occurred. However, he has refused to sign any document or publicly state that he was ever untruthful with the enforcement staff.
The 59-year-old has maintained he didn’t recall the events when first speaking with investigators but that he was never purposefully dishonest.
The NCAA delivered a draft of a notice of allegations earlier this month citing the four Level II violations. They include meeting with two recruits during a COVID-19 dead period, texting a recruit outside of an allowable time period, having analysts perform on-field coaching duties during practice and having coaches watching players work out via Zoom, according to sources.
The NCAA defines Level II violations as resulting in “less than a substantial or extensive recruiting, competitive or other advantage.” It further calls them “systemic violations that do not amount to lack of institutional control”.
Punishments are usually minor.
However, the NCAA claims that during the investigation, Harbaugh lied to enforcement staffers about those infractions, which is, itself, a Level I violation. That’s what turned this into a more serious case.
A Level I violation could carry with it a six-game suspension and significant recruiting restrictions, according to NCAA statutes. In the past, coaches have been hit with show cause penalties that make their employment difficult.
During two meetings this week, the NCAA and Harbaugh held firm and refused to back down from their positions. The NCAA said the coach lied. The coach said he merely forgot otherwise insignificant actions. An impasse resulted.
All of this has occurred during an eventful time for the football program. The Wolverines lost to TCU on New Year’s Eve in the semifinals of the College Football Playoffs. It capped a 13-1 season that saw Michigan reach the playoffs, win the Big Ten and defeat Ohio State in consecutive years.
Within days, Harbaugh’s name emerged again for various NFL head coaching openings, including the Denver Broncos, with whom he spoke. Then word broke of the NCAA infractions case and Harbaugh remained coy about returning to his alma mater for a ninth season.
Earlier this week, Harbaugh and the university stated he would be back for the 2023 season, but the looming NCAA case remained. Additionally, co-offensive coordinator Matt Weiss was suspended Tuesday as police investigate an allegation of someone at…
Read More: Resolution talks in NCAA’s case vs. Michigan hit impasse over Jim Harbaugh’s 2023-01-19 05:51:00