The day is finally upon us. While the Ohio State football team continues to get ready to take on Michigan State, Michigan could finally find out what their punishment will be for the sign-stealing scandal. I’ve been told by multiple people that it will come today, but I’m still dubious of that.
Regardless, the evidence is overwhelming that Michigan broke the rules. Connor Stalions has not only been seen recording games in other stadiums but also helped facilitate others to advance scout Michigan’s opponents and record their signals. The only question is whether or not the coaches knew.
I tend to think that they did. It’s hard not to when you see Stalions next to Jim Harbaugh on the sidelines talking to him before plays. He had to have known what was going on. It also doesn’t matter if he knew. As head coach, everything that goes on in your program is your responsibility.
The NCAA won’t be ruling on this matter until next year at the earliest. It’s up to the Big Ten to decide if they want to levy punishments in this case. Tony Petitti is under pressure from other Big Ten programs to do so. We’ll see if he ends up using his authority.
In any case, there are three reasonable punishments that should happen to Michigan. I’m not saying that these will happen, only that they should. Michigan is trying to deflect any blame of wrongdoing, even accusing the Ohio State football program of stealing their signs and sharing them with Purdue. That’s not the case.
The first punishment that should happen is very obvious.
1. Suspend Jim Harbaugh for the rest of the season
This one is pretty simple. When a cheating scandal of this magnitude is uncovered in your program, you have to be suspended for the rest of the season. This wouldn’t be the first suspension Harbaugh has had to face this year either.
Harbaugh took a three-game suspension that was self-imposed because of recruiting violations stemming from COVID. The NCAA hasn’t fully levied a punishment on that matter either. Pettiti has to take into account that Harbaugh has a track record of not following the rules.
Suspending Harbaugh for the rest of the season would send a very strong and clear message to the rest of the Big Ten that behavior like this will not be tolerated under any circumstances. If you cheat, you will pay the price. It’s a pretty simple principle.
The next punishment that should happen has to do with his offensive and defensive coordinators.