Sources: Jim Harbaugh, Michigan under NCAA investigation for potential rules violations
Level I allegation is Harbaugh misled NCAA investigators when confronted with questions about Level II allegations
The Michigan football program is under NCAA investigation for numerous potential rules violations, including head coach Jim Harbaugh directly for failing to cooperate with investigators, a Level I violation, sources told Yahoo Sports.
The NCAA has prepared a draft of a notice of allegations, which once delivered to the school, will start a 90-day window on the case before the official notice is given.
The program is also being investigated for four Level II violations, which are generally considered minor.
They center on using too many coaches at practice sessions, meeting with two recruits during a COVID-19 dead period and watching player workouts over a video feed, according to a source.
The Level I allegation is that Harbaugh misled NCAA investigators when confronted with questions about the Level II allegations. A Level I violation could lead to significant recruiting restrictions or even a suspension for a number of games.
Harbaugh’s contract allows for the university to terminate him “for cause” if “the NCAA or the Conference, or the University reasonably determines that (i) the Head Coach has committed a material violation of a material provision of the Governing Rules (including without limitation, a Level I or Level II violation of NCAA Rules).”
To reach that standard, however, the full NCAA process, which could take months or years, would likely need to fully play out.
The school could also stand behind the 59-year-old who has led the Wolverines to consecutive Big Ten titles and College Football Playoff appearances. Harbaugh has never before been cited for a Level I violation.
"Yesterday, we received draft allegations from the NCAA regarding our football program,” UM athletic director Warde Manual said on Friday. “We have cooperated and will continue to cooperate with this investigation. Out of respect to the NCAA’s enforcement process, we will not offer further comments.”
The allegations and the uncertainty around them could explain some of Harbaugh’s interest in open NFL jobs, particularly with the Denver Broncos.
Harbaugh issued a statement Thursday full of open-ended language about his plans for next season.
“As I stated in December, while no one knows what the future holds, I expect that I will be enthusiastically coaching Michigan in 2023,” Harbaugh said.
He could not be reached for further comment Thursday night.