Michigan says settlement reached in sign-stealing case; Harbaugh to serve 3-game suspension

The University of Michigan says a settlement was reached in the sign-stealing case and that Coach Jim Harbaugh will serve a 3-game suspension. As a result, the Big Ten will now end the investigation, the school announced.

Harbaugh was suspended for the final three games of the regular season by the Big Ten, which said it didn’t have evidence that the coach knew about the scheme. He missed last week’s win over then-No. 9 Penn State.

The motion hearing was canceled in Washtenaw County court as a result of U-M stopping its legal action. The University of Michigan released a statement about the resolution of the investigation:

"This morning, the University, Coach Harbaugh, and the Big Ten resolved their pending litigation. The Conference agreed to close its investigation, and the University and Coach Harbaugh agreed to accept the three-game suspension. Coach Harbaugh, with the University's support, decided to accept this sanction to return the focus to our student-athletes and their performance on the field. 

"The Conference has confirmed that it is not aware of any information suggesting Coach Harbaugh's involvement in the allegations. The University continues to cooperate fully with the NCAA's investigation."


ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN - NOVEMBER 04: Head coach Jim Harbaugh of the Michigan Wolverines looks on in the first half while playing the Purdue Boilermakers at Michigan Stadium on November 04, 2023 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Ima

The Big Ten released a statement giving credit to the school's leadership for accepting the suspension.

"Today's decision by the University of Michigan to withdraw its legal challenge against the conference's November 10th notice of disciplinary action is indicative of the high standards and values that the conference and the university seek to uphold. The University of Michigan is a valued member of the Big Ten Conference and the conference will continue to work cooperatively with the university and the NCAA during this process.

"The Big Ten Conference's commitment to student-athletes, sportsmanship and the commissioner's duty to protect the integrity of competition will never waver."

A judge had scheduled a hearing for Friday to hear the school’s attempt to at least temporarily lift the Big Ten’s penalty and allow Harbaugh to coach the second-ranked Wolverines (10-0, 7-0 Big Ten, No. 3 CFP) against Maryland (6-4, 3-4) on Saturday and against rival Ohio State next week.

Connor Stalions had been employed by Michigan as a recruiting analyst an annual salary of approximately $55,000. He resigned earlier this month, two weeks after he was suspended by the university when the NCAA and Big Ten Conference acknowledged the school was being investigated.

The NCAA does not not directly ban the stealing of signs, but there are rules against using electronic equipment to record an opponent’s signals and in-person, advanced scouting of future opponents in season. There are also rules against unsportsmanlike or unethical activities by coaches.

Stalions, who has been identified on social media accounts as a graduate of the Naval Academy and a longtime Michigan football fan, has not commented publicly. He said through his lawyer that neither Harbaugh nor any member of his coaching staff told anyone to break any rules or were aware of improper conduct when it came to scouting.

Harbaugh has denied knowledge of any alleged scouting scheme in his program.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


EAST LANSING, MICHIGAN - OCTOBER 21: Head coach Jim Harbaugh of the Michigan Wolverines takes the field with his team to play the Michigan State Spartans at Spartan Stadium on October 21, 2023 in East Lansing, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty