A day after it was announced the Michigan Wolverines decided to back down against the Big Ten in court, the team made a coaching change on Friday morning. While Jim Harbaugh will be able to return to the team after a three-game suspension, linebackers coach Chris Partridge has been released, effective immediately.
“Effective today, Chris Partridge has been relieved of his duties as a member of the Michigan Football staff. Rick Minter will serve as the team’s linebackers coach,” a statement from U-M Athletic Director Warde Manuel stated.
In a separate statement made applicable to the University of Michigan, it reads, “From the outset, our focus has been on seeking due process and allowing the NCAA to conduct a fair and deliberate investigation. Although the Big Ten has closed its investigation, we are continuing to cooperate with the NCAA as it moves forward with its ongoing investigation. Consistent with our commitment to integrity, we will continue to take the appropriate actions, including disciplinary measures, based on information we obtain. Earlier today, Michigan Athletics relieved Chris Partridge of his duties as a member of the Michigan Football staff. Due to employee privacy laws, we are unable to comment further.”
While there are no publicly released pieces of information yet tying Partridge to the advanced-scouting scandal, it seems pretty clear why this decision was made, given the timing. With Michigan and Harbaugh willing to cooperate with the Big Ten, it felt like a near certainty that there was more to the story than we knew.
Partridge was on the Michigan staff for four years before leaving for Ole Miss. This past offseason, Harbaugh brought him back to replace George Helow. This is a tough loss as Partridge is a strong recruiter and has elevated the group of Junior Colson, Michael Barrett, and new addition Ernest Hausmann.
Maize n Brew will provide more information on this story as it develops.