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Jim Harbaugh And Warde Manuel Presenting A United Front

Jim Harbaugh and Warde Manuel are on the same page and presenting a united front as Michigan football battles the Big Ten and more.



Jim Harbaugh, Warde Manuel, Big Ten Conference, Michigan football

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Over the past few years, the relationship between Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh and University of Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel has been rumored to be a bit “tense.” In fact, it appeared that U-M President Santa Ono had to step in last winter to keep Harbaugh from bolting back to the NFL after Michigan won a second-straight Big Ten title and more under his guidance. That said, after hearing what Jim Harbaugh said in his presser yesterday and watching how both he and Manuel have been reacting to the scandals, it’s clear that the two have formed a united front — at least for the time being.

Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh suspended just before Penn State game

Jim Harbaugh and Warde Manuel have a crucial court battle on Friday against the Big Ten Conference — if all goes at the University of Michigan hopes, Harbaugh will be allowed to coach the final two games of the regular season for the Wolverines, including matchups against Maryland and No. 1 Ohio State.

Last weekend, during the first game of Jim Harbaugh’s suspension, Sherrone Moore led Michigan football to a 24-15 win over No. 10 Penn State in Happy Valley; that said, the Wolverines and Moore himself undoubtedly want to see Harbaugh back on the sideline this weekend for what could be Michigan’s 1,000th all-time win.

Michigan finds out about suspension via social media, Warde Manuel reportedly quite upset

Jim Harbaugh and Warde Manuel were not informed of his suspension from the Big Ten Conference office — rather, they found out via social media when their plan landed in State College on Friday afternoon. Soon after, Manuel released a strong statement in which he and U-M leadership fully backed the team’s 9th-year head coach.

“Warde (Manuel) was pretty upset. He was on the plane, too,” Harbaugh explained on Monday. “And he’s pretty upset that he heard through social media, not through the office — the Big Ten office.”

Jim Harbaugh gives more on Manuel’s response

On Monday, Jim Harbaugh explained to us how it felt to have Warde Manuel publicly behind him and his football team, and it’s clear that the two are on the same page right now.

“Tremendous support,” Harbaugh said. “Warde has been 10 toes down; he’s standing right here with us. His support, President Ono’s support, the Board of Regents. And I said our fan base was already galvanized, already connected there together — I’m feeling a galvanized Michigan. (The) university, alumni network, and all the alums — the largest living alumni body in the world for any school. And the fan base, which goes coast to coast and worldwide, is really being galvanized.

“And that’s a tremendous thing,” the Michigan football coach added. “That’s a monumental thing when you think about it. Everybody fighting like the team we’re supposed to be, and that’s gonna be tough to beat.”

Friday means a lot for Michigan football — but the goal remains the same

As I said, this Friday, the University of Michigan and its legal team will face off against the Big Ten Conference in front of a judge. If successful, the school will be granted a TRO against the conference, which will effectively allow Michigan football head coach Jim Harbaugh to coach the remainder of the 2023 regular season.

Regardless of how a judge rules on Friday, Michigan will face Maryland this weekend on the road — the Wolverines’ final test before facing Ohio State in a crucial Week 13 matchup that will likely determine the Big Ten title and College Football Playoff races.

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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.