NCAA sends formal notice to Michigan explaining recruiting violation allegations: report

The NCAA has sent a formal notice of allegations to the University of Michigan, according to a report from ESPN.

The notice stems from allegations from the NCAA regarding alleged violations by the football staff during the COVID-19 recruiting dead period, according to a report from ESPN.

Sources told ESPN that Michigan football head coach faces a Level I violation after he allegedly failed to cooperate with or possibly mislead investigators. 

Meanwhile, the university faces four Level II violations. Level II violations typically carry less serious consequences than Level I violations. The violations in question initially surfaced in January.


View of Michigan logo on wall before game at Michigan Stadium.  (Simon Bruty /Sports Illustrated via Getty Images)

Shortly before the 2023 college football season kicked off, it was announced that Harbaugh would serve a self-imposed three-game suspension. Wolverines offensive coordinator Sherrone Moore also sat out one game as part of a negotiated resolution.

In August, the NCAA released a statement during the ongoing investigation that explained the seriousness of the alleged violations.


“The Michigan infractions case is related to impermissible on and off-campus recruiting during the COVID-19 dead period and impermissible coaching activities — not a cheeseburger,” Derrick Crawford, NCAA vice president of hearing operations, said in the statement.

“It is not uncommon for the [committee on infractions] to seek clarification on key facts prior to accepting. The COI may also reject an NR [negotiated resolution] if it determines that the agreement is not in the best interests of the Association or the penalties are not reasonable. If the involved parties cannot resolve a case through the negotiated resolution process, it may proceed to a hearing, but the committee believes cooperation is the best avenue to quickly resolve issues.”

Michigan helmet

A Michigan Wolverines player holds his helmet with stickers on the back during the Big 10 Championship game between the Michigan Wolverines and Iowa Hawkeyes on December 4, 2021, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN. (Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

A draft of the notice of the allegations was sent to Michigan in January. The document outlined the Level I violation Harbaugh is accused of and the Level II infractions. The potential violations also include the use of an off-field defensive analyst for on-field coaching activities, per ESPN.

A separate NCAA investigation is underway to determine whether Michigan was involved in prohibited off-campus advanced scouting and an alleged sign-stealing operation. Former football staffer Connor Stalions has been identified as a key figure in the possible operation.

Michigan Stadium before the start of a game

Michigan Stadium is seen before the start of the NCAA college football game between Michigan and Notre Dame  in Ann Arbor, Michigan September 10, 2011. (REUTERS/Rebecca Cook)

The Big Ten cited its sportsmanship policy when the conference imposed a three-game suspension for Harbaugh for the final three games of the regular season. Michigan will be given 90 days to respond to the notice of allegations. The NCAA will then have up to 60 days to give a rebuttal. 


Harbaugh was on the sidelines for the Wolverines win over Iowa in the Big Ten Championship earlier this month. Michigan finished the regular season with a perfect record and advanced to the College Football Playoff. 

The Wolverines are scheduled to take on Alabama in the semifinal game at Rose Bowl Stadium on Jan. 1.

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