NCAA issues penalty for Michigan football for ‘burgergate,’ U-M administration responds

The first of the two NCAA investigations into the Wolverines, the one pertaining to what’s commonly referred to as ‘burgergate,’ appears to be coming to a close.

Michigan football had been found to have both impermissible contact with recruits during the ever-changing COVID landscape as well Jim Harbaugh having reportedly ‘misled’ investigators after purchasing a cheeseburger for a recruit on campus. In terms of the former, the NCAA has announced that it’s come to a resolution with penalties ranging from three years of probation, a fine, and recruiting restrictions.

Michigan and five individuals who currently or previously worked for its football program have reached an agreement with NCAA enforcement staff on recruiting violations and coaching activities by noncoaching staff members that occurred within the football program, and the appropriate penalties for those violations. A Committee on Infractions panel has approved the agreement. One former coach did not participate in the agreement, and that portion of the case will be considered separately by the Committee on Infractions, after which the committee will release its full decision.

The agreed-upon violations involve 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).  The negotiated resolution also involved the school’s agreement that the underlying violations demonstrated a head coach responsibility violation and the former football head coach failed to meet his responsibility to cooperate with the investigation. The school also agreed that it failed to deter and detect the impermissible recruiting contacts and did not ensure that the football program adhered to rules for noncoaching staff members.


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.

The NCAA is considering the Jim Harbaugh ‘misleading’ incident separate, but with Harbaugh no longer being in the college ranks, his punishment will not affect the maize and blue, it appears.

His lawyer, Tom Mars, expressed regret at Michigan accepting the penalties on X (formerly Twitter).

Shortly after the announcement, University of Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel issued a statement saying that he’s happy that the program can put this part of its recent past behind it.

“Today’s joint resolution pertains to the University of Michigan Athletic Department and several former and current employees,” Manuel said. “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.”

There’s still the matter of the other investigation, the one that pertains to Connor Stalions and his alleged sign-stealing scheme. As of yet, the NCAA has not issued a Notice of Allegations, thus any punishment could be some ways off.

Story originally appeared on Wolverines Wire