If Jim Harbaugh is indeed staying with Michigan football for 2023, per his statement on Thursday afternoon, he’ll apparently have to deal with a Level I violation of NCAA regulations.
The Free Press has confirmed that Michigan is expected to receive an official notice of allegations from the NCAA soon, charging the program with four Level II violations — those deemed “more than a minimal but less than a substantial or extensive recruiting, competitive or other advantage” according to a description adopted in 2019 — and Harbaugh himself with a Level I violation — a “severe breach of conduct” that “seriously undermine or threaten the integrity of college sports,” per the guidelines.
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The punishment for the Level I violation — which the Free Press has learned is for Harbaugh lying or misleading NCAA investigators — would be levied against him personally, and could include a suspension for a game or multiple games.
Harbaugh’s contract, which runs through 2026, includes a clause that allows for U-M to fire the coach for cause without owing him any money. But that wouldn’t come until the completion of the NCAA’s investigation.
Reports have swirled surrounding Harbaugh’s future since the Wolverines lost to TCU in the College Football Playoff semifinal Saturday in the Fiesta Bowl. He has reportedly been contacted by the Denver Broncos and has spoken with Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper about their head coach openings. The Athletic reports that if he is offered an NFL job, Harbaugh is willing to take it.
Last winter, Harbaugh interviewed with the Minnesota Vikings, but after not being offered the head coaching job, told the Free Press that he was committed to helping Michigan win a national championship.
On Thursday, about an hour before the first report of the NCAA violations by the Athletic, Harbaugh released a statement doubling down on comments he made last month, stating he expects to be the coach at Michigan next season. But he also said he was not exactly sure what the future holds.
Yahoo! Sports was first to report that Harbaugh was facing a Level I violation.
The Free Press confirmed the Level II violations are for recruiting violations and having too many coaches working with players.