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SADLY: Jim Harbaugh is suspended by the Big Ten less than a day before the ………

Big Ten suspends Jim Harbaugh less than 24 hours before Penn State game

The Big Ten Conference announced today that the University of Michigan has been found in violation of the Big Ten Sportsmanship Policy for conducting an impermissible, in-person scouting operation over multiple years, resulting in an unfair competitive advantage that compromised the integrity of competition.

Big Ten Conference Agreement 10.01 states in part that “The Big Ten Conference expects all contests involving a member institution to be conducted without compromise to any fundamental element of sportsmanship.

Such fundamental elements include integrity of the competition, civility toward all, and respect, particularly toward opponents and officials.”

As a penalty imposed on the institution, the University football team must compete without its Head Football Coach for the games remaining in the 2023 regular-season, effective immediately.

This disciplinary action shall not preclude the University or its football team from having its Head Football Coach attend practices or other football team activities other than the game activities to which it applies.

For clarity, the Head Football Coach shall not be present at the game venue on the dates of the games to which this disciplinary action applies.

Big Ten Commissioner Tony Petitti ultimately acquiesced to the demands of coaches who wanted to see Harbaugh pay for the alleged actions of former analyst Connor Stalions.

Stalions, who resigned last week, is accused of breaking the NCAA’s advanced scouting rules by purchasing tickets to games involving Michigan’s future opponents and sending people to those games to film the sidelines.

Although no evidence linking Harbaugh to the operation has been revealed, his fellow Big Ten coaches demanded action from Petitti, who eventually relented despite warnings from the University of Michigan, Harbaugh, and state lawmakers.

The Wolverines asked the commissioner to respect due process and wait to issue punishment until the investigation plays out, especially since recent leaks suggest Michigan wasn’t the only team to acquire signs in a way that appears nefarious.

“The reputation and livelihoods of coaches, students, and programs cannot be sacrificed in a rush to judgment, no matter how many and how loudly people protest otherwise,” U of M President Santa Ono wrote. “Due process matters.”

The state lawmakers went on to say, “We will vigorously support our public universities in their efforts to compel fairness and due process should you, as the commissioner of the Big Ten Conference, rush to judgment or engage in any ill-considered actions.”

The suspension is certainly a bold move by the new commissioner. Michigan has maintained that there is no precedent for this kind of behavior and that the sign stealing will not provide them a competitive edge in the future.

Michigan travels to Happy Valley this weekend to square off against No. 10 Penn State in what will surely be the toughest challenge so far this season. The Wolverines are 9-0 and No. 3 in the College Football Playoff rankings, and they’re hoping to win the Big Ten and advance to the playoff for the third year in a row.

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