Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh's suspension agreement called off, per report

So much for that suspension for Jim Harbaugh.

The agreed upon four-game suspension for the Michigan football coach has hit a snag and will now not happen, according to Yahoo! Sports columnist Dan Wetzel. Two assistant coaches, including offensive coordinator Sherrone Moore, were slated to serve one-game suspensions.

The agreement needed approval from the NCAA Committee of Infractions, which was expected to come before Michigan's season opener against East Carolina on Sept. 2.

But now, according to Wetzel's report, the deal is off. The case will now go through the normal hearing process, which likely will push any punishment into 2024.

Michigan football spokesman David Ablauf said Saturday night "we are unable to comment as this is still an ongoing case."

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh speaks during Big Ten football media days last month.
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh speaks during Big Ten football media days last month.

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The suspension was for the Level I and II violations the NCAA said Harbaugh and the football program committed. The Level II violations stemmed from recruiting and coaching infractions. The Level I offenses, deemed more serious, were from statements that Harbaugh made to the NCAA, which the organization deemed misleading.

A person familiar with the situation told the Free Press on July 25 that Michigan sent its request for a "negotiated resolution" to the committee, which would have 30 days to accept, reject or change the penalty upon receipt.

That resolution included suspensions for Moore and tight ends coach Grant Newsome, according to the person. There is also a one-year show-cause penalty for former defensive coordinator Mike McDonald.

"We are continuing to work cooperatively with the NCAA staff on an enforcement matter," Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel said in a statement shortly after news of the resolution broke. "At this time, we cannot comment further on any aspect of the matter."

Negotiations date to January, when people familiar with the situation confirmed to the Free Press that Harbaugh would not admit to knowingly misleading investigators, leaving talks at a standstill. Yahoo! reported that Harbaugh did admit to the Level II violations, which the Free Press confirmed stem from recruiting violations during a COVID-19 dead period, texting a recruit during a time not allowed, having analysts serve in on-field roles and having coaches watch players work out via Zoom.

"This is a one game suspension for the actual infraction," one person said, "and three games for their belief that he was less than forthright with their investigators."

Harbaugh, who had dalliances with the NFL for a second consecutive offseason, was thought to be on the verge of a new contract extension with Michigan, but there has been no public confirmation since Harbaugh announced he would return to Ann Arbor for the 2023 season.

Manuel did tell the Free Press earlier this summer that the two sides have, "had conversations about that" and "at the appropriate time, we'll make an announcement."

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Jim Harbaugh's four-game suspension not happening for Michigan coach