Harbaugh 3 Week Suspension From College Football Illustrates Nonsensical Rules in College Football

Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh will be uncomfortable in September. That’s because the football-crazed man will not be allowed to be on the sidelines coaching his team for three weeks.

That’s because the University of Michigan is worried that the NCAA will severely punish Harbaugh for allegedly having misled investigators last year. By slapping their head coach with a three-game suspension by their own decision, school officials in Ann Arbor hope to lessen what may be a severe penalty coming down the road from the NCAA.

It’s clear that U of M is trying to avoid any on-field punishment that could impact winning games and results. The Wolverines are considered a contender to win the NCAA football championship and enter the season as a top-five-ranked program. In each of the last two seasons, Michigan played in the College Football Playoff for the Division I Football Bowl Subdivision. Harbaugh, and his obsessive control of his football program, deserve much of the credit for the recent success and two consecutive Big 10 titles.

The NCAA claims that Harbaugh lied to their investigators when they were researching alleged violations surrounding the extended recruiting dead period in place after COVID-19. Harbaugh claims he misremembered or did not recall the answers to the questions, but did not purposefully lie to the NCAA.

Harbaugh’s suspension, imposed by his athletic department, means the coach will not wear a headset for three home games that start the 2023 season: in The Big House against East Carolina, UNLV, and Bowling Green in Weeks 1-3. The Wolverines, with or without Harbaugh, should be heavy favorites to win those games, precursors to the Big 10 season.

The Big 10 is poised to add four new teams in the next few seasons, following the decision to add USC, UCLA, Washington, and Oregon from the Pac-12 conference.

Michigan penalizes themselves

It appears Michigan chose to self-impose a penalty rather than wait for what may be a harsher decision and one that could hang over the program for months. Some reports have speculated that the NCAA could wait until 2024 to impose a penalty on the Michigan football program.

Some Wolverine fans believe the case focuses on an issue that is trite and picky. But the NCAA has pushed back on that opinion.

“The Michigan infractions case is related to impermissible on and off-campus recruiting during the COVID-19 dead period and impermissible coaching activities -- not a cheeseburger,” Derrick Crawford, the NCAA vice president of hearing operations, said in a statement, via Thamel.

Ultimately, the Wolverines are focused on a primary goal: winning a national title. Any decision they can make to remove uncertainty about Harbaugh is a good thing as they embark on a new season.

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