How Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh Suspension Impacts Penn State Football

Penn State Football
Penn State Nittany Lions head coach James Franklin (right) shakes hand with Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh (left) following the completion of the game at Beaver Stadium. Penn State defeated Michigan 28-21.(Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports)

Michigan must prepare for life without Jim Harbaugh for part of this upcoming college football season.

According to multiple reports, including Ross Dellenger of Yahoosports, Michigan head football coach Jim Harbaugh is working toward a “negotiated resolution that is expected to see him suspended four games this season in penalties from alleged false statements [Harbaugh] originally made to investigators”.


Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh and NCAA are working toward a negotiated resolution that is expected to see him suspended four games this season in penalties stemming from alleged false statements he originally made to investigators, sources tell @YahooSports.

— Ross Dellenger (@RossDellenger) July 25, 2023

According to Dellenger, the suspension stems from an NCAA investigation into recruiting violations committed by Harbaugh and other Michigan football staff members.

“A quick resolution broke down in January after Harbaugh refused to admit that he lied to NCAA Staff.” For Michigan and Harbaugh, a four game suspension is the ideal punishment as almost surely the suspension will be taken to start the season, as Michigan opens with 4 home games, including 3 games against non-power five, non-conference opponents.

Michigan’s biggest game in the first four games of the season is a week four game against Rutgers, who only finished 4-8 last season.

Accepting a four-game suspension to start the season would guarantee Harbaugh to return before Michigan embarks on a two-game road trip to Nebraska and Minnesota in late September and early October and for the final push to the season against Penn State, Maryland, and Ohio State.


How Jim Harbaugh Suspension Impacts Penn State Football

The Harbaugh suspension does not mean much for Penn State Football, as it will most assuredly not affect Harbaugh’s status against the Nittany Lions on November 11th.

With Michigan accepting the penalty early in the season, the Wolverines can be sure that Harbaugh can coach in the meat of the Wolverines schedule and still will likely remain unbeaten for when Harbaugh returns from the four-game suspension.

According to ESPN’s analytics predictor, Michigan has at least a 96.7 percent chance to win each of the first four games of the season.

Penn State fans will see a similar result for the Harbaugh suspension that fans saw in 2019 when Ohio State voluntarily suspended Chase Young against Rutgers and Maryland to avoid the star defensive end missing a top 10 matchup against Penn State the following week.


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Robert Casturo

Robert Casturo

Expertise: College Football, Penn State Football Education: Saint Vincent College, Penn State Law School Location: Washington, DC Experience: Robert Casturo has covered Penn State football for NittanyCentral since 2022. Casturo previously covered Penn State football through a social media presence (@PSU_FB_Thoughts on X) since 2019. Casturo earned his bachelor's degree from Saint Vincent College in 2015, where he was a punter for 1 season on the Saint Vincent College football team and worked in the athletic department for 2 years as a student manager. Casturo earned his JD from Penn State Law in 2018 where he was a senior editor of the Penn State Law Review.