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Michigan self imposes three-game suspension for Jim Harbaugh

The Wolverines’ head coach will miss all of the preseason non-conference matchups this season.

Big Ten Football Media Days Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

As first reported by Chris Balas of The Wolverine/On3, the Michigan Wolverines are self-imposing a three-game suspension on head coach Jim Harbaugh to begin the 2023 season. He will miss the non-conference games against East Carolina, UNLV and Bowling Green. Fortunately, Harbaugh will still be able to coach the team during practices leading up to those three games.

The University of Michigan also released the news on Monday afternoon, confirming the reports. In a statement, Athletic Director Warde Manuel stated the following:

“While the ongoing NCAA matter continues through the NCAA process, today’s announcement is our way of addressing mistakes that our department has agreed to in an attempt to further that process. We will continue to support coach Harbaugh, his staff, and our outstanding student-athletes. Per the NCAA’s guidelines, we cannot comment further until the matter is resolved.”

Harbaugh also commented on the matter, saying “I will continue to do what I always do and what I always tell our players and my kids at home. Don’t get bitter, get better.”

The university also said interim coaching appointments will be decided on in the future.

This all stems from the NCAA investigation into Harbaugh and the Michigan football program. The alleged violations stem from the 2020 offseason and include watching workouts over Zoom during the COVID dead period, analysts performing on-field coaching, and Harbaugh lying when it comes to Burgergate.

It was originally reported earlier this month by Yahoo’s Dan Wetzel the “deal” the NCAA and Michigan had for a four-game suspension had fallen through and Harbaugh would be able to coach in every game in 2023. But now that Michigan is self-imposing this three-game suspension, that is now off the table as well.

The hope is this self-imposed suspension will make all this garbage with the NCAA go away. Whether or not that will happen remains to be seen, but the NCAA has at least been notified of this decision.

If all it takes is Harbaugh being suspended for the games against East Carolina, UNLV and Bowling Green — where the Wolverines will probably be favored by 100+ points combined — so be it. However, if this self-imposed suspension doesn’t help — which there’s no guarantee it does — what’s the point? Hopefully the NCAA forgets all about this case due to this suspension, but more questions will be raised towards Manuel and the Athletic Department if the NCAA still wants Harbaugh suspended for more games in 2024.

At the very least, Harbaugh will still be eligible to coach in every meaningful game in 2023 and look to take Michigan back to the Big Ten Championship and College Football Playoff.

Michigan kicks off its 2023 season next Saturday, Sept. 2 against East Carolina at noon EST on Peacock.