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Desmond Howard blasts Big Ten's approach to Michigan scandal: 'This would never happen in the SEC'

Nikki Chavanelleby:Nikki Chavanelle11/10/23


Former Michigan Wolverines star Desmond Howard laid into the Big Ten on Friday’s Get Up as the conference is reportedly hours away from releasing their disciplinary action against Jim Harbaugh’s program for the sign-stealing controversy. The Heisman-winner claimed the SEC would “never, ever” allow other teams to pressure the conference for punishment against a member like Alabama, for example.

“What Michigan is asking for seems to be fair when they ask for due process,” Howard said. “What has happened in this whole scenario, this whole narrative, Greeny, is that because the coverage has been so intense, it’s created this groundswell of emotion. And because of this groundswell of emotion, that’s what it seems (Tony) Petitti is responding to.

“Due process is in place so you don’t act emotionally. You let the facts come out and you let the process work through everything it’s supposed to in gathering facts and information. That’s all Michigan is asking for. It seems like the groundswell of emotion wants the Big Ten to circumvent what’s going on with the NCAA.”

“And I tell you what, Greeny, and Paul (Finebaum) knows this too; this would never happen in the SEC,” Howard continued. “The SEC Commissioner would never, ever let Vanderbilt and Kentucky and all these other universities say, ‘Hey, you need to punish Nick Saban and Alabama right now. We know they’re on a quest to win the national championship but to hell with that. You need to punish them right now.’ He would kick them out of his office. That would never happen. It’s just a lot of money at stake too, Greeny, you got to understand that. It’s like $6 million per team.”

The big winners of Michigan’s demise this season, according to Howard, would be the networks pulling in record numbers to watch the scandal-laden Wolverines – and the SEC, who would potentially get another team in the College Football Playoff should Harbaugh’s team fall.

Big Ten preparing to release disciplinary action

The Big Ten is reportedly preparing a notice of disciplinary action against the Michigan Wolverines football program and head coach Jim Harbaugh ahead of the team’s trip to Penn State on Friday. According to an updated timeline from CFB insider Heather Dinich, the notice could come out before or even while the team is en route to State College.

“Sources indicate that the Big Ten will give Michigan a response early this afternoon,” Dinich said on Get Up. “Michigan leaves at 1 p.m., they’ll fly mid-afternoon… Last night, Michigan sources indicated to me and my colleague that they had not had any communication with the Big Ten and there still has not been evidence presented to Michigan that Jim Harbaugh knew, orchestrated any of this, or lied.”

“The Big Ten, we’ve learned has considered the gamut of punishments,” she continued. “Now, we’re hearing this morning, it could be a three-game suspension, which would be significant and it could start this weekend.

Among the “gamut” of possible punishments for Michigan, Dinich described a possible indefinite suspension, a two-year suspension, or even a simple public reprimand. Another form of punishment could be financial, including fines of up to $1 million or more.

Get Up host Mike Greenberg clarified with Dinich that a suspension for Harbaugh could mean he has to miss the Wolverines’ next three games. They play the Penn State Nittany Lions, the Maryland Terrapins, then finally, No. 1 Ohio State.

“It’s certainly possible,” Dinich said. “My understanding is that the Big Ten isn’t concerned about Michigan’s travel plans. They’ll release news when they deem fit and when they are ready.”