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Michigan, media gathering evidence on private investigators and their links to OSU – more on Jim Harbaugh extension

Chris Balasby:Chris Balas11/03/23


Several sources at Michigan and in the media tell they are gathering evidence on two private investigators they believe are behind the investigation into U-M’s alleged illegal on-site scouting. The same sources also believe the two are responsible for the media leaks that have kept the story in the news for weeks. 

Both allegedly have ties to Ohio State head coach Ryan Day’s family. 

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Reporters are working to put the pieces together, but we know Michigan is currently in possession of documents that could link one of the alleged investigators to Day’s younger brother, Timothy Day. The other they suspect is linked to Day’s brother, Christopher, and was also a classmate of Tim Day’s in New Hampshire. One currently runs a private investigation firm in Manchester, N.H., Day’s hometown. 

In addition, other sources at Michigan allege some of the evidence — specifically, a spreadsheet provided to the Washington Post with analyst Connor Stalions’ travel plans and budget for his operation in which he allegedly paid people to video opposing teams’ signs — was obtained by gaining access to his computer illegally. Upon investigation, more sources indicated law enforcement has begun looking into the source of the information as a result. 

While many have noted the NCAA probably “won’t care” where the evidence came from while conducting its own investigation, the Big Ten might. While a Big Ten spokeswoman did not return a request for comment, commissioner Tony Petitti will meet with the Michigan administration, including President Santa Ono, this afternoon to discuss the case after his recent meetings with conference coaches and athletic directors. Reports have surfaced that the Big Ten athletic directors asked Petitti to act, though they collectively acknowledged they would respect any decision he made.

According to league policy, the commissioner can take disciplinary action that is considered “standard” or “major.” Standard action includes a fine not exceeding $10,000 and a suspension of no more than two contests. Major action is anything exceeding those penalties and is subject to approval from the Big Ten executive board of presidents.

From Yahoo’s Dan Wetzel:

A decision from the league is uncertain, though options have been discussed. On their calls over the last week in fact, high-level school administrators and Petitti have pored over a wide range of possibilities. There was talk, for instance, of any penalty not impacting players directly. A suspension of coach Jim Harbaugh may be the most likely and ‘cleanest’ penalty if one were handed down, one source said.

“Such a penalty from a conference is somewhat unprecedented and, if too severe, could eventually trigger legal action from the program, legal experts tell Yahoo Sports. Any Big Ten penalty is rooted in the conference’s sportsmanship policy, which allows for the commissioner to hand down disciplinary measures for violating the ‘integrity of competition’ in the ‘competitive arena,’ the policy says.”

Some sources believe a two-game Harbaugh suspension, possibly Purdue and at Penn State, could be the “middle ground” result of today’s meeting. Petitti has made it clear, per other reports, that he’s going to need “evidence,” however, before he acts. As of now, the NCAA investigation is in its early stages. 

Jim Harbaugh contract proceeding

In the meantime, as previously reported, the administration and A.D. decided Tuesday to proceed with a contract extension that would make Harbaugh the Big Ten’s highest paid coach. That hasn’t changed. The lawyers are proceeding, and while some had optimistically hoped it could be in front of Harbaugh before kickoff with Purdue Saturday, “next week” is probably the earliest he would put pen to paper. 

The contract will include clauses involving NCAA violations, etc., which is standard in most cases, anyway. But the numbers are there and both sides continue to express interest in getting it done. That, of course, could be revisited if anything more damaging were to emerge from the NCAA investigation. 

Watch for more on these developments in the hours to come. 

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