When Jim Harbaugh opened his Monday press conference, he announced that he would not comment on Michigan's legal battle with the Big Ten until Friday, when the school and the conference are scheduled to present arguments in Washtenaw County Court.
Amid speaking about his immune system, chickens and “Judge Judy” for almost half an hour, Harbaugh revealed he learned about his three-game suspension from the Big Ten from a social media post on Friday as Michigan flew to State College, Pennsylvania, for its top-10 showdown with Penn State.
“Somebody showed me their phone,” Harbaugh said, explaining that Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel also learned the news on social media. “Warde was pretty upset. He was on the plane, too. He was pretty upset that he heard it through social media and not through the Big Ten office.”
Michigan's attorney filed a motion for a temporary restraining order that, had it been granted, would have allowed Harbaugh to coach vs. the Nittany Lions. However, a judge did not rule on the motion before kickoff and instead will hear arguments from both sides on Friday.
On Monday, Harbaugh said he didn’t know if he would be called to speak in front of the judge. Still, he plans to attend the hearing, where Michigan will argue that Big Ten commissioner Tony Petitti lacked the authority to suspend Harbaugh under the league's Sportsmanship Policy.
“As a senior in high school, I had a civics class,” Harbaugh said. “We talked about government, justice. What I took away from the class was that you’re innocent until proven guilty. That was 40 years ago. I’d like that opportunity.”
As Harbaugh prepares for Michigan's hearing, he complimented his team for its focus on Saturday vs. Penn State. The Wolverines improved to 10-0 with a 24-15 win despite a tumultuous 24 hours with uncertainty surrounding Harbaugh's status for the game.
Michigan Football: Gotta be Americas team. Jim Harbaugh pic.twitter.com/7MN4IPFJ3N— College Transfer Portal (@CollegeFBPortal) November 13, 2023
“It’s got to be 'America’s Team,'” Harbaugh said. “America loves a team that beats the odds, beats the adversity, overcomes what the naysayers and the critics, the so-called experts, think.”
Michigan can become the first college football program to reach 1,000 victories with a win Saturday at Maryland. If Harbaugh cannot coach, offensive coordinator Sherrone Moore will again serve as the acting coach, as he was on Saturday.
After Michigan beat Penn State, Moore sobbed as he paid tribute to Harbaugh in a postgame interview with FOX reporter Jenny Taft.
"Coach Harbaugh... I love the sh*t out of you man. I did this for you!"— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) November 11, 2023
Sherrone Moore breaks into tears while speaking with @JennyTaft after the @UMichFootball's win vs Penn State pic.twitter.com/JJYPKyA2sM
“I was 5 inches from the TV to watch that,” Harbaugh said. “It was beautiful.”