The Wolverine

Sept 2023

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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Page 32 of 67

SEPTEMBER 2023 ❱ THE WOLVERINE 33 M ich iga n head coach Jim Har- baugh has said numerous times in the offseason that his 2023 Wolver- ines are in a better spot than any of his previous squads, saying "cultural mo- mentum" has taken place and carried over from year to year. Harbaugh spoke with reporters Aug. 15 for the first time during fall camp and made it quite clear his team is "locked in" on the season ahead, with little fo- cus on anything else. The ninth-year head coach didn't share an opinion on Oregon and Wash- ington joining the Big Ten when asked, and he doesn't care that his team is ranked No. 2 in the Associated Press poll. His wife, Sarah, has asked him to complete tasks around the house, and he tries "his best" on them, but his cur- rent focus is on the upcoming season. "We've had a lot of people come through. There have been a lot of foot- ball people — we've had general man- agers come through, we've had scouts come through," Harbaugh said of Mich- igan's camp. "One, in particular, who was in our meetings and at practices said, 'This is vibrant.' So, that's my word. I can't get ❱  MICHIGAN FOOTBALL 'Vibrant' Michigan Team Attacks Fall Camp On Aug. 21, one week after reports that the NCAA committee on in- fractions rejected a four-game suspension for head coach Jim Harbaugh, Michigan self-imposed a three-game penalty for its coach. Harbaugh will miss games with East Carolina (Sept. 2), UNLV (Sept. 9) and Bowling Green (Sept. 16), but he will be allowed to work day-to-day and at practice with the team. Harbaugh was issued a Level I violation by the NCAA after allegedly mis- leading investigators about improper contact with a recruit, turning a Level II violation into the more serious infraction. The violations, reportedly the result of Harbaugh meeting with a recruit during a COVID-related dead period in which he bought the recruit a burger in 2020, have been a source of ongoing discussion between fans, reporters and even the NCAA. Some suggested the association violated its own bylaws in commenting while Michigan and Harbaugh were not allowed to do so. U-M assistant coaches Sherrone Moore and Grant Newsome were cited for Level II violations for which they were asked to serve one-game suspensions. Those were accepted by the NCAA, and Moore and Newsome (in addition to Harbaugh) are expected to miss the opener with ECU. However, according to sources, the NCAA had not accepted the self-im- posed three games as sufficient punishment for Harbaugh. What that means is that this will likely drag on into next year, at which point Harbaugh could still be on the hook for further punishment. Some have surmised that means a few more game suspensions next year, though nobody knows for certain. Despite the distractions, Harbaugh insisted that his Michigan team was focused and ready to take on the schedule. "It's got to come from [the Michigan players]," Harbaugh said of the focus. "I've tried to make guys love football, have enthusiasm, attack each day with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind. … I've come to the realization that it's got to come from the individual no matter how hard you try." Michigan athletics director Warde Manuel also weighed in with a state- ment released after the suspension was announced. "While the ongoing NCAA matter continues through the NCAA process, today's announcement is our way of addressing mistakes that our department has agreed to in an attempt to further that process," Manuel said. "We will continue to support Coach Harbaugh, his staff and our outstand- ing student-athletes. Per the NCAA's guidelines, we cannot comment further until the matter is resolved." In an Aug. 21 release, Michigan officials said an announcement on interim coaching appointments would be made at a future date. Moore is expected to replace Harbaugh for the second and third games, but there are several possibilities for Game 1. Harbaugh, meanwhile, issued a statement of his own after the announce- ment. "I will continue to do what I always do and what I always tell our players and my kids at home — 'Don't get bitter, get better,'" he said. — Chris Balas Senior defensive lineman Kris Jenkins (94) was singled out by head coach Jim Harbaugh as the team's poster person for 'enthusiasm unknown to mankind,' and received a special EUTM helmet sticker. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL JIM HARBAUGH TO SERVE THREE-GAME SCHOOL-IMPOSED SUSPENSION IN 2023

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