Dan MurphyESPN staff writer4 minutes to read
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said he plans to attend a court hearing on Friday where a judge will hear arguments on whether to grant a restraining order that would overturn the coach’s three-game Big Ten suspension.
“I’ll be speaking on Friday,” Harbaugh said. “I’m just looking for that opportunity — due process. I’m not looking for special treatment, I’m not looking for a popularity contest, I’m just looking for the merits of the case.”
The Big Ten suspended Harbaugh last Friday as punishment against the football program for violating the league’s sportsmanship policy. Big Ten Commissioner Tony Pettitte said in a letter Friday that he had gathered enough information from the NCAA and others in the conference to prove that a former member of Michigan’s staff had compromised the integrity of this year’s games by scouting other teams for signals in advance.
Harbaugh and the university filed a complaint against the Big Ten and Pitete teams in state court on Friday, hours after the league’s suspension was announced. Michigan asked the court to issue a temporary restraining order that would overturn the suspension and return Harbaugh to the field. A hearing on the request is scheduled for Friday in Washtenaw County District Court in Ann Arbor.
Harbaugh said he is not sure if he will have the opportunity to present his case before a judge, but he intends to be there in person.
“I always felt like it would be great to get up there and speak loudly in front of a jury like Tom Cruise in A Few Good Men or be a judge. Unfortunately, I didn’t go to law school,” he said. . “This will be the first time I’ve really been in this position.”
Harbaugh, who is allowed to coach the team all week under the terms of the Big Ten’s suspension, said he will maintain a “one-track mind” to help the team prepare for its game this weekend at Maryland. He said offensive coordinator Sherwin Moore will continue to serve as the team’s interim coach if his suspension is upheld.
Moore coached No. 3 Michigan to its first win over a ranked opponent last weekend with a 24-15 win over No. 10 Penn State. After the game, Moore broke down in tears during an on-field interview when talking about Harbaugh and how the team responded to his suspension.
Harbaugh said he was “about 5 inches” from the television screen while interviewing Moore.
“It was beautiful,” he said.
The Big Ten announced its decision to suspend Harbaugh while the team was on its way to Penn on Friday afternoon. Harbaugh said he learned of the decision when someone showed him a social media post with the news.
Harbaugh said Michigan athletic director Ward Manuel was “very upset” on the team plane when they learned via news reports of the suspension rather than hearing about it directly from Pettitte or the conference. Manuel expressed some of his anger in a statement published Saturday morning. The support from Manuel, who “was standing here with us,” and from the university’s president, board and alumni, “was greatly appreciated,” Harbaugh said.
“I feel like Michigan is galvanized,” he said. “… This is a huge thing. It’s a huge thing when you think about it. Everyone is fighting like the team we’re supposed to be. It’s going to be tough to beat.”
The Wolverines play at Maryland on Saturday before wrapping up their regular season with a home game against rival and No. 1 seed Ohio State. Friday’s hearing will help determine whether Harbaugh is able to attend any of those games.
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