Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh is facing a four-game suspension for breaking NCAA rules over improper contact with recruits, a person with knowledge of a proposed settlement between the school and NCAA enforcement said Tuesday.
Michigan recently submitted a negotiated resolution to the NCAA in a case that has been in the works for about two years. The NCAA’s committee on infractions must approve the resolution, a process that typically takes about 30 days. The details were confirmed by a person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the agreement is not finalized. It was first reported by Yahoo Sports.
“We are continuing to work cooperatively with the NCAA staff on an enforcement matter,” Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel said in a statement. “At this time, we cannot comment further on any aspect of the matter.”
The Wolverines are coming off two straight Big Ten championships and two College Football Playoff appearances, and are expected to enter the season as one of the highest ranked teams in the country.
Michigan opens the season with four straight home games, starting Sept. 2 against East Carolina. Games with UNLV, Bowling Green and the Big Ten opener against Rutgers follow. Michigan is expected to be a huge favorite in all four. The Wolverines’ fifth game is Sept. 30 at Nebraska.
The person with knowledge of the situation said Michigan offensive coordinator and line coach Sherrone Moore and tight ends coach Grant Newsome are also facing one-game suspensions. The proposed suspensions for Harbaugh and his assistants would be only for game day, the person said.
Michigan received notice earlier this year that the NCAA was looking into potential rules infractions. The investigation involved impermissible texts and calls — including some by Harbaugh — to high school prospects during part of a pandemic-related dead period for contact with potential recruits. The NCAA also was looking at whether a member of Michigan’s off-field football staff violated rules by doing on-the-field coaching during practice.
Harbaugh previously told NCAA investigators in multiple meetings that he would not agree to an unethical conduct charge for not being forthright, according to two people familiar with the situation. The people spoke earlier this year to the AP on condition of anonymity because details of the investigation have not been shared.
Harbaugh, 59, is entering his ninth season coaching at his alma mater. Harbaugh, who coached the San Francisco 49ers for four seasons before taking over at Michigan, has flirted with returning to the NFL each of the past two seasons before deciding to stay in Ann Arbor.
The unresolved NCAA issues have delayed Michigan finalizing a long-expected new contract for Harbaugh, the person who spoke to the AP on Tuesday said.
Harbaugh is 74-25 at Michigan, and has beaten archrival Ohio State each of the last two seasons after beginning his tenure with five straight losses to the Buckeyes.