Stephen A Smith has insisted Jim Harbaugh’s three-game suspension from Michigan games over the sign-stealing scandal engulfing the college is not enough and says the Wolverines should be barred from the playoffs if they get there.
The Big Ten Conference banned Harbaugh from coaching on the sideline at Michigan’s three remaining regular-season games last week as punishment for a sign-stealing scheme.
Harbaugh’s bid for an emergency restraining order on Friday was delayed until November 17, though the Wolverines still managed to beat Penn State 24-15 on Saturday without their coach on the sideline.
Harbaugh’s suspension also carries game-day bans for the final two games of the regular season – including a showdown with current CFP No. 1 Ohio State.
His availability for the postseason – the Big Ten conference championship next month and the College Football Playoff – is still up in the air.
Stephen A Smith says Jim Harbaugh’s three-game ban from coaching Michigan isn’t enough
Asked on First Take whether a three-game ban was a strong enough punishment, Smith said: ‘No, because I’m not even thinking about Harbaugh when it comes to the punishment.
‘I’m thinking about the Michigan program. What the hell is going on here? I don’t understand why people are having such a difficult time comprehending what the hell I’m saying.
‘If the Big 10 and the NCAA have deduced that you have gained an unfair advantage through unsavory means, meaning that in some way, shape, form or fashion you’ve compromised the integrity of competition because you gained an unfair edge/advantage that’s all I need to know.
‘You cannot have a college football program in the college football playoffs at the expense of another team with that specter hovering over you this season.
‘It doesn’t require the death penalty, it doesn’t require loss of scholarships, it doesn’t require you missing the playoffs next year or anything like that but this season, as this season was going on, as you were in route to a 9-0 record it was discovered you had someone on your staff who was literally infiltrating other sidelines, stealing signals and signs to feed back to a coach staff, who fed it to players and the players presumably had an unfair advantage.
Harbaugh’s bid for an emergency restraining order on Friday was delayed until November 17
‘To the Michigan players, I was just there last week giving a speech and I said it yards away from the big guys – I didn’t give a damn then and I don’t give a damn now – I’m not blaming the players.
‘It’s not their fault but it doesn’t negate the fact that if you had an unfair advantage you cannot go to the college football playoffs at the expense of Alabama, Texas, Oregon, Washington, possibly Florida State.
‘You can’t get a playoff spot over one of those programs with this specter over your franchise. If they finish their investigation and don’t have any evidence then fine but if they’re saying “you did this” – no, you can’t be in the college football playoffs.
‘That’s all anybody will be talking about. Do you deserve to be there? That’s a problem.’
Harbaugh revealed on Monday he found out he was suspended while aboard the team plane to Pennsylvania.
‘Someone showed me their phone,’ Harbaugh said, saying he found out ‘via social media. (Michigan athletic director) Warde (Manuel) was pretty upset. He was on the plane, too. Pretty upset he heard it through social media, not the Big Ten office.’
He was also full of praise for the resilience his Wolverines showed to win Saturday under the leadership of offensive coordinator Sherrone Moore.
Without their coach on the sideline, the Wolverines still managed to beat Penn State
Linebacker Michael Barrett celebrates with a fan wearing a ‘Michigan vs Everybody’ chain
‘The perseverance, just the stalwartness of these guys. Watching it, I would say, “This has gotta be America’s Team,” Harbaugh said Monday.
‘America loves a team that beats the odds, beats the adversity, overcomes what the naysayers and critics, so-called experts think. That’s my favorite kind of team.
‘Watching from that view on the television it was, “Finally. People get to see what I see every day”.’
Harbaugh served a four-game suspension from the Michigan sideline to start the 2023 season for recruiting violations and NCAA allegations he lied to investigators about the matter.
He is permitted to serve as head coach during the week, including at practices. He arrived at his news conference on Monday with a raspy, gravelly voice but said he’s not sick.
‘I’m the iron wall that viruses bash against and shatter,’ Harbaugh said, noting his elixir will be ‘more pushups and eat an apple.’