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Summarizing Michigan's 10-Page Response to The Big Ten's Sportsmanship Investigation

Via a Tweet (X) this morning from Dan Wetzel (Yahoo Sports), here is the University of Michigan’s 10-page letter to the Big Ten responding to the sportsmanship investigation.

In addition, I summarized the 10-page document below.


University of Michigan's Formal Response:

The University of Michigan has submitted a tenacious and detailed formal response to a Big Ten investigation notice regarding sportsmanship policy violations. Michigan asserts that any disciplinary action at this stage would be procedurally incorrect and unjustified as the NCAA investigation is still active, and the university has not had the chance to review evidence or respond appropriately. The response emphasizes the limitations NCAA rules impose on Michigan conducting its own probe and asserts the right to further statements as the investigation proceeds.


Contention Against Disciplinary Actions:

Michigan contends that disciplinary actions based on unproven rule violations would violate the Big Ten Conference Handbook and that any punitive measures against Coach Jim Harbaugh would overstep the Commissioner's authority and lack factual basis. The university also challenges the evidence quality cited in the conference's communication, labeling it as predominantly second or third-hand summaries rather than the tangible evidence required by the Handbook.


Advisement on Precedent-Setting:

The response also suggests a cautious approach from the Conference in setting precedents, given the potentially widespread nature of in-person scouting and other dubious practices in the league. It points out that if the activities of Connor Stalions are deemed violations, similar actions by other teams may also be rule breaches, as evidenced by decoded signals from a Purdue coach.


Commitment to Rules Compliance:

Finally, Michigan reiterates its commitment to compliance, stating its readiness to assume responsibility for any confirmed misconduct following the NCAA investigation. However, it maintains that fairness and adherence to the Conference Handbook necessitate a thorough and equitable process for adjudicating violations, mitigating actions, and determining appropriate sanctions. Any disciplinary action without such due process is deemed improper and premature by the university.

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