Jim Harbaugh readies court action if suspended as Big Ten weighs Michigan penalties beyond coach punishment

The Big Ten Sportsmanship Policy spells out a wide range of potential penalties aside from a suspension of Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, according to documents obtained by CBS Sports, as the sign-stealing scandal remains ongoing.

The penalties range from a reprimand to probation to a possible TV ban. Other potential penalties include withholding TV and bowl game revenue from the university. As part of those penalties laid out in Rule 19.5 of the sportsmanship policy, a “staff member” can be suspended.

Michigan on Monday received evidence related to the sign-stealing scandal from the Big Ten as well as a formal notice of potential disciplinary action against the program, sources told CBS Sports. The school has been given until Wednesday to respond. The NCAA has already shared some of its findings with the league.

Sources close to Harbaugh and the ongoing situation speculated to CBS Sports that a court action would be filed almost immediately — “maybe 10 [minutes after punishment is handed down]” — to keep the Michigan coach on the sidelines if the Big Ten chose to suspend him.

That action would most likely be an injunction or temporary restraining order allowing Harbaugh to continue coaching. There are ongoing dual investigations by the NCAA and Big Ten regarding former analyst Connor Stalions and his culpability in improperly scouting opponents.

Sources spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the ongoing case.

For Big Ten commissioner Tony Petitti, the Michigan situation is extremely complicated. A suspension would potentially impact the Wolverines’ chances both of winning the Big Ten and obtaining a berth in the College Football Playoff for a run at the national championship. It could also impact the…


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