Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh has been under heavy media scrutiny for weeks after allegations of illegal sign stealing became public. The NCAA is reportedly investigating Michigan football staffer Connor Stallions for illegal on-site scouting but new information has come to light that connects Ohio State head coach Ryan Day at the center of the drama.
Multiple sources in Michigan and in the media told TheWolverine.com that evidence is being gathered on two private investigators who are believed to be responsible for the media leaks. Both allegedly have ties to Ryan Day’s family, placing Ohio State firmly in the conversation.
If Michigan was handed some kind of postseason ban, the Buckeyes would have more to gain than any other Big Ten program.
Evidence Links Private Investigators To Ryan Day’s Brothers
According to reports, Michigan is already in possession of documents that could link one of the alleged investigators to Ryan Day’s younger brother, Timothy Day.
The other they suspect is linked to Day’s other brother, Christopher, who was a classmate of Tim Day’s in Manchester, New Hampshire, Day’s hometown.
Day is 1-2 versus Michigan as the head coach of the Buckeyes. Could he be looking for a chance to eliminate his biggest rival?
What Kind Of Punishment Could The Big Ten Hand Down?
While Big Ten athletic directors from rival schools have urged commissioner Tony Petitti to act quickly, there may be some limits to a potential punishment. According to Yahoo’s Dan Wetzel, “A suspension of coach Jim Harbaugh may be the most likely and ‘cleanest’ penalty if one were handed down”.
Per league policy, a “standard” action would include a fine of $100,000 or less and a suspension of no more than two contests. A “major” action would include any penalties that are more severe than that and be subject to approval from the Big Ten executive board.
Even though a two-game suspension might seem light, a penalty that is too severe could trigger legal action from Michigan, which could complicate the matter ever further.
As the NCAA and the Big Ten continue to compile evidence, it could be a long time before this case is resolved. After all, the NCAA is still in the early part of its investigations, meaning that a penalty may not be handed down until after the season is over.
Despite the investigation, the Michigan administration appears to proceeding with a contract to make Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh the highest-paid coach in the conference. The deal could be done as soon as next week, ahead of Michigan’s game against Penn State.
The contract will reportedly also include clauses involving NCAA violations, which is standard in most cases.