Michigan has received a notice of allegations from the NCAA regarding alleged violations by the football staff during the COVID-19 recruiting dead period, two university officials told ESPN.
According to sources, Wolverines coach Jim Harbaugh faces a Level I violation for allegedly not cooperating with or misleading NCAA investigators about the alleged violations, and Michigan also faces four Level II violations, which are considered less serious. Michigan in August self-imposed a three-game suspension for Harbaugh to begin the season as well as a one-game suspension for offensive coordinator Sherrone Moore as part of a negotiated resolution for his involvement.
The self-imposed penalties, enacted to soften the impact of NCAA punishment, came shortly after the NCAA’s infractions committee did not approve a negotiated resolution involving Harbaugh that would have resulted in a four-game suspension. The NCAA also in August took the unusual step of issuing a statement during an ongoing investigation about the severity of the alleged violations involving Michigan.
“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, NCAA vice president of hearing operations, said in the statement, referring to the simplistic characterization of the violations in some media reports. “It is not uncommon for the [committee on infractions] to seek clarification on key facts prior to accepting. The COI may also reject an NR [negotiated resolution] if it determines that the agreement is not in the best interests of the Association or the penalties are not reasonable. If the involved parties cannot resolve a case through the negotiated resolution process, it may proceed to a hearing, but the committee believes cooperation is the best avenue to quickly resolve issues.”
In January, Michigan received a draft of the notice of allegations, which outlined the Level I violation Harbaugh is accused of and the Level II infractions, which included an off-field analyst allegedly being involved in on-field coaching activities. Sources told ESPN then that Harbaugh could face up to a six-game suspension.
Michigan faces a second NCAA investigation for the prohibited off-campus scouting and signal-stealing allegedly led by former staff member Connor Stalions, who resigned Nov. 4. Although Michigan has not received a notice of allegations in that case, the Big Ten imposed a three-game suspension for Harbaugh under its sportsmanship policy, which the coach served for the final three regular-season games. Harbaugh could be charged as a repeat violator under head-coach responsibility, also a Level I charge.
Harbaugh returned to the sideline Dec. 2 for the Big Ten championship game against Iowa, and he will coach Michigan on Jan. 1 when it faces Alabama in the CFP Semifinal at the Rose Bowl Game presented by Prudential. Michigan has 90 days to respond to the notice of allegations, and then the NCAA will have 60 days to issue a rebuttal.