Resolution talks between Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh and the NCAA stalled this week after Harbaugh refused to admit to committing a Level I violation alleged in the school’s Notice of Allegations, according to CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd. The two sides drew lines in the sand during a pair of meetings, with Harbaugh refusing to sign or state that he was untruthful to NCAA enforcement staff.
In the Notice of Allegations drafted earlier this month, the NCAA alleged that Michigan held practices with too many coaches on the field, contacted two prospects during the extended COVID-19 dead period, and observed practices via an unauthorized video feed. Those are all Level II violations and considered minor in nature. Harbaugh has acknowledged those violations and apologized to the university, but stands firm that he didn’t recall those events upon first speaking with investigators and was never deliberately deceitful.
The NCAA, however, remains adamant that Harbaugh initially lied about the Level II violations, which is a Level I violation — the most serious accusation.
If Harbaugh is hit with the Level I violation, it could result in a suspension of up to six games and recruiting restrictions. Harbaugh could also receive a show cause, which means that the school and coach must report to the NCAA every six months until the end of the penalty explaining why they should not be investigated further.
Providing false and misleading information is a violation of NCAA Bylaw 10.1, which deals with unethical conduct. Violations of this bylaw include obstructing an investigation or encouraging another person to lie.
Proving Harbaugh lied could be difficult, though, and a full-fledged case could take at least a year. It’s possible the NCAA adds a suspension for Harbaugh to the Level II violations, but an admission from the coach seems unlikely.
The NCAA investigation comes at an interesting time for Harbaugh and Michigan. He was mentioned as a candidate for multiple job openings in the NFL but announced this week that he will remain the coach of the Wolverines.
“I love the relationships that I have at Michigan — coaches, staff, families, administration, President Santa Ono and especially the players and their families,” Harbaugh said. “My heart is at the University of Michigan. I once heard a wise man say, ‘Don’t try to out-happy, happy.’ Go Blue!”