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The decision was announced Friday after the University of Michigan football coach was previously accused of sign-stealing
“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,” the organization announced on Friday.
This means Harbaugh, 59, will have to sit out the final three games of the conference this football season. The announcement follows a weeks-long investigation of the head coach by the NCAA for sign-stealing.
“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,” Friday’s statement continued.
According to the Big Ten, because of Harbaugh’s penalty, the University of Michigan football team “must compete without its Head Football Coach for the games remaining in the 2023 regular-season, effective immediately.”
However, all hope isn’t lost for the college athletes. Though the head coach cannot attend games, he can still help his team prepare by being present for practices or other football team activities.
On Oct. 30, Harbaugh spoke at a press conference where he addressed the sign-stealing scandal before the media for the first time since the investigation was publicly announced in mid-October.
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The Wolverines head coach began by making it clear that he would not be able to go into detail about a case that was actively being investigated, but did state that he was still working with the university despite reports that his coaching contract offer had been rescinded.
"The team is refreshed, I'm refreshed," Harbaugh said. "Opportunity to spend time with the families after a pretty good week of practice last week, got some things done. We're in an onward mode. So to answer your question specifically, it's a one-track mind that I'm modeling, and I see it throughout the program."
When news first broke of the investigation, the former quarterback released a statement that he planned to “fully cooperate.”
“I want to make it clear that I, and my staff, will fully cooperate with the investigation into this matter,” Harbaugh said on Oct. 19. “I do not have any knowledge or information regarding the University of Michigan football program illegally stealing signals, nor have I directed any staff member or others to participate in an off-campus scouting assignment.”
He continued to maintain his innocence in the matter.
“I have no awareness of anyone on our staff having done that or having directed that action. I do not condone or tolerate anyone doing anything illegal or against NCAA rules. No matter what program or organization that I have led throughout my career, my instructions and awareness of how we scout opponents have always been firmly within the rules. Pursuant to NCAA rules, I will not be able to comment further while this investigation takes place."
Michigan will take on Penn State in Pennsylvania Saturday at noon.
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