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Big Ten trying to decide punishment for Michigan football program

The Big Ten Conference is weighing its options to punish Michigan football and Jim Harbaugh during the 2023 season.



Jim Harbaugh, Michigan football, Carter Smith, 2025 recruiting class
Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh watches a play against Indiana during the first half at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023.

Today, new reports have been coming in showing that the Big Ten Conference is finally ready to take the next steps and determine an in-season punishment for the Michigan football program due to the sign-stealing scandal. Potential punishments include a suspension for Jim Harbaugh, holding TV revenue, and more, though a few specific punishments stand out to college football insiders.

Big Ten trying to decide punishment for Michigan football program

This morning, on ESPN, college football insider Heather Dinich explained that the Big Ten Conference has received the 10-page response letter from Michigan football, and will now take time to weigh its options. As reported by many, the University of Michigan and Jim Harbaugh are ready to go to court with this, even bringing in a massive law firm to consult and more on their legal options moving forward.

Commentary from CFB insider

That said, no one is quite sure what the Big Ten will do from here, especially now that Michigan football is leaking details about other schools, such as Ohio State, who have also allegedly been stealing signs and passing them along to the Wolverines’ future opponents.

“I’ve learned that people should not assume that Jim Harbaugh is going to be suspended, though that is certainly a consideration,” Heather Dinich said on Thursday morning. “The Big Ten has run a gamut of possibilities, starting with a possible indefinite suspension, a two-year suspension, all the way to something as simple as a public reprimand. The other thing that you could possibly see is a fine of $1 million dollars or more, which would probably be rubberstamped, so stay tuned.”

Michigan football, Jim Harbaugh readying for the worst amid sign-stealing scandal

If Michigan football is ready to fight a two-game suspension of Jim Harbaugh, I cannot imagine what the school would do if the Big Ten attempted to give Harbaugh a two-year suspension. The same goes for anything that touches the school’s revenue, especially since the Wolverines are generating a ton of money for the conference, with most of it going toward other schools.

So, for the time being, all we can do is sit and wait to see how new Big Ten commissioner Tony Petitti will respond to all that is happening with the sign-stealing scandal and more.

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CJ has covered college athletics in paid roles for around five years, including numerous sports and beats. His most recent work revolves largely around Penn State and Michigan football and basketball as a member of the credentialed media at both schools. Right now, CJ writes for Blue by Ninety, where he also serves as the site's credentialed football reporter. He also does some credentialed basketball coverage. Previously, CJ has made stops with sites like GBMWolverine, Saturday Blitz, Steeler Nation, and more.