Michigan recruiting violations, explained: Wolverines punished by NCAA for recruiting infractions

Michigan football reached an agreement with the NCAA on Tuesday regarding the Wolverines' recruiting infractions committed during a COVID-19 recruiting dead period under former coach Jim Harbaugh.

Michigan will be under probation for three years due to the violations, including a fine and other recruiting penalties. The deal was agreed upon by Michigan and five staff members who previously worked for the Wolverines or are currently on staff.

REQUIRED READING: Michigan football handed three-year probation, recruiting penalties and fine by NCAA

The NCAA's release also mentioned one former Michigan coach did not participate in the agreement, and that the situation will be "considered separately by the Committee on Infractions, after which the committee will release its full decision."

Harbaugh previously served a self-imposed three-game suspension for Michigan's recruiting violations, resulting in Harbaugh missing the Wolverines' first three games in 2023. Harbaugh missed the final three games of Michigan's regular season as well for an unrelated suspension imposed by Big Ten commissioner Tony Petitti when Michigan was accused of a widespread sign-stealing operation.

Here's everything to know about Michigan's recruiting violations from 2020, which are separate from the aforementioned sign-stealing allegations from the 2023 season:

REQUIRED READING: Michigan AD Warde Manuel: Football program can 'move forward' after NCAA sanctions

Michigan 2020 recruiting violations, explained:

Michigan football reached an agreement with the NCAA on Monday regarding recruiting violations stemming from a recruiting dead period during the COVID-19 season. The allegations of the violations were first raised just after the 2022 season, according to a report by Yahoo Sports' Dan Wetzel in January 2023.

Wetzel initially reported the program was being investigated for a Level I violation — the harshest of violations imposed by the NCAA — along with four Level II violations for making contact with recruits during a COVID-19 dead period. According to Wetzel, the allegations of the Level I violation stemmed from how Harbaugh "misled NCAA investigators when confronted with questions about the Level II allegations."

Now derisively referred to as "burger-gate" due to the most recognizable piece of evidence from the investigation being receipts for two recruits for burgers at "The Brown Jug," the allegations have more widespread roots. Michigan was accused of having coaches monitor practices via Zoom during the dead period, having analysts on the field in a coaching capacity, and illegally texting recruits during the dead period. Harbaugh buying the recruits burgers with his own money in 2020 was also illegal at the time, and he was meeting them during the COVID-19 dead period.

Michigan was then sent a draft notice of allegations in January 2023, with Michigan and the NCAA reportedly agreeing on a four-game suspension for Harbaugh for the 2023 season. However, that negotiated deal fell through in August 2023, according to Wetzel, which implied harsher punishments may be coming.

In response, Michigan issued a self-imposed three-game suspension for Harbaugh, including a one-game suspension for then-offensive coordinator Sherrone Moore in hopes to lessen the punishments from the NCAA with the investigation still ongoing.

Nearly a year later, in December 2023, the NCAA finally sent Michigan a notice of allegations, which outlined the violations.

On Tuesday, the NCAA announced it had reached an agreement with Michigan on the violations, which includes three years of probation for the school, along with an undisclosed fine and recruiting restrictions "in alignment with the Level I-mitigated classification for the school."

The NCAA said the violations were due to "impermissible in-person recruiting contacts during a COVID-19 dead period, impermissible tryouts, and the program exceeding the number of allowed countable coaches when noncoaching staff members engaged in on- and off-field coaching activities (including providing technical and tactical skills instruction to student-athletes)," which was previously noted by multiple reports.

What is Michigan's punishment for 2020 recruiting violations?

According to the NCAA, Michigan's punishment includes three years of probation, along with a fine and recruiting restrictions.

Here's the full quote from the NCAA's statement:

"The agreed-upon penalties in this case include three years of probation for the school, a fine and recruiting restrictions in alignment with the Level I-Mitigated classification for the school. The participating individuals also agreed to one-year show-cause orders consistent with the Level II-Standard and Level II-Mitigated classifications of their respective violations."

What did Michigan AD Warde Manuel say about NCAA sanctions?

Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel commented Tuesday on the NCAA and Michigan agreeing on punishments from a 2020 recruiting violation.

“Today’s joint resolution pertains to the University of Michigan Athletic Department and several former and current employees," Manuel said in a statement. "We are pleased to reach a resolution on this matter so that our student-athletes and our football program can move forward. We have no additional information and cannot comment further on other aspects of the NCAA’s inquiries.”

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Michigan recruiting violations, explained: Wolverines punished by NCAA