Desmond Howard Calls Out Big Ten's Approach Toward Michigan's Sign-Stealing Scandal, Says Punishment Without Due Process “Would Never Happen in the SEC”

By 11W Staff on November 10, 2023 at 11:01 am
Desmond Howard
Andrew Wevers / USA TODAY Sports

With the Big Ten's response to Michigan expected to come on Friday, former Michigan wide receiver Desmond Howard has made his stance on the matter loud and clear.

On ESPN's "Get Up" Friday, Howard said the Wolverines would be stripped of due process if the Big Ten delivered punishment for the university before the NCAA investigation is complete. He also sent a message to Big Ten commissioner Tony Petitti that the SEC would “never, ever” allow member schools to pressure the conference for punishment toward another school — in this instance, Alabama.

“What Michigan is asking for seems to be fair when they ask for due process,” Howard explained. “What has happened in this whole scenario — this whole narrative — is that because the coverage has been so intense, it’s created this groundswell of emotion. And because of this groundswell of emotion, that’s what it seems Petitti is responding to.

“Due process is in place so you don’t act emotionally. You let the facts come out, and you let the process work through everything it’s supposed to in gathering facts and information. That’s all Michigan is asking for. It seems like the groundswell of emotion wants the Big Ten to circumvent what’s going on with the NCAA."

Howard then argued that SEC commissioner Greg Sankey would never allow what can be seen as lower-level conference schools, Vanderbilt and Kentucky, to pressure him into punishing one of the conference's national championship contenders, Alabama.

"This would never happen in the SEC. The SEC commissioner would never, ever let Vanderbilt and Kentucky and all these other universities say, ‘Hey, you need to punish Nick Saban and Alabama right now. We know they’re on a quest to win the national championship, but to hell with that. You need to punish them right now.’ He would kick them out of his office. That would never happen."

According to ESPN's Heather Dinich, the Big Ten is expected to announce its discipline of Michigan on Friday afternoon, with the response expected to include either a suspension of Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh or a lofty fine for the university.

With a top-10 matchup vs. Penn State set for this weekend, the Wolverines are scheduled to depart from the Detroit Metropolitan Airport around 1 p.m. and arrive in State College, Pennsylvania, later on Friday. Harbaugh's attorney, Tom Mars, told ESPN's Pete Thamel he fully expects Harbaugh to be on the plane.

“I’m confident he’s going to be on that plane one way or another," Mars said.

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