Michigan filed a lawsuit on Friday night with the unusual request for a temporary restraining order for one important and obvious reason. The school wants the suspension to be blocked in time for Saturday's game at Penn State. The game starts at noon ET.
It's a high bar to get a court to stop a party from doing something it plans to do. Usually, the action is taken and the legal system sorts out later whether the law provides a remedy. Usually, the remedy is a cash payment.
So-called preliminary relief happens if/when the plaintiff can prove that a failure of the courts to intervene would result in "irreparable harm." This means that no award of cash later would fix the harm done now, if the party that plans to do something now is permitted to do it.
That's what Michigan and Harbaugh need to prove. That no court ruling, no verdict, no outcome down the road can repair the damage done by not letting Harbaugh coach.
It's also important for Michigan to show a high likelihood of ultimately winning the case. The closer the legal question presented, the harder it is to get a court to step in.
That's the key here. The court system is premised mainly on cleaning up messes later. Sometimes, an effort is made to prevent the mess, with the argument it can never be cleaned up.
Regardless, it's already a mess. The clock is ticking toward kickoff, and there have been no ruling. It needs happen ASAP.