May 26, 2024

The sequence of events began in October when Charlie Baker, the recently appointed NCAA president of less than a year, received information. The information pertained to Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh allegedly utilizing staffer Connor Stalions to organize live scouting of opponents’ games. Baker promptly notified the school and the Big Ten about the matter. However, the situation escalated due to conference commissioner Tony Petitti, who harbored animosity towards Harbaugh and Michigan.

According to Baker, his intention was to address any potential misconduct by Michigan up to that point, particularly during their 7-0 start in the early part of the season. The goal was to establish credibility for the team’s performance after that period. In retrospect, Michigan went on to dominate the remaining eight games of their schedule. They secured victories in the Big Ten championship against Iowa, triumphed over Alabama in the Rose Bowl, and clinched the national title by defeating Washington.

NCAA president validates Michigan's national championship despite  sign-stealing scandal: Buckeye Breakfast - cleveland.com

Reflecting on his actions, Baker expressed no regrets, emphasizing that withholding such comprehensive information could have placed everyone, including Michigan, in a difficult position. He noted that the information was already in the public domain, allowing people to make adjustments as needed. Ultimately, Baker asserted that, given the circumstances, there is widespread belief that Michigan rightfully won the national title.

Jim Harbaugh asserts that Michigan Football is ‘innocent.’

Jim Harbaugh holds a different perspective, emphasizing that Michigan Football not only had to overcome the challenges posed by sign-stealing allegations but also his three-game suspension resulting from those allegations. Harbaugh firmly maintains that the team did nothing wrong from the outset.

In a video posted by the Detroit Sports Podcast after the championship game, captioned “Jim Harbaugh regarding cheating scandal: We’re Innocent,” Harbaugh expressed his satisfaction with the team’s success. He stated, “It couldn’t have gone any better, it went exactly how we wanted it to go, to win every game. Off the field issues, we’re innocent. And we stood strong, and tall because we knew we were innocent. And I’d just like to point that out.”

While Charlie Baker, the NCAA president, did not go as far as Harbaugh in declaring innocence, he emphasized that the on-field result during the championship game was sufficient to validate that Michigan Football was not involved in any misconduct. According to Baker, Michigan’s victory demonstrated that the team was not tainted, and the championship deserved no asterisk. He highlighted that Michigan was clearly the superior team that night, and the game had a well-defined outcome in favor of Michigan.

It’s indisputable when the score is 15-0.

Despite the resentment and animosity from the Big Ten, even with the possibility of Harbaugh transitioning to the NFL and ongoing NCAA investigations into Michigan football, the 2023 championship rightfully belongs to the Wolverines, and no one can dispute that.

Harbaugh emphasized the collective effort in a recent press conference, stating, “It’s been a team effort all the way—nothing fancy, no surprises. Just good old-fashioned, roll-up-your-sleeve hard work and teamwork, and it’s been a beautiful thing. So often, the goal is to chase perfection, and it’s hard to be perfect. And it rarely comes around. You hope to achieve excellence along the way. But, gosh, it’s perfect. It was a perfect 15-0.”

Well, perhaps there were a few surprises, and ‘perfect’ might not precisely capture the essence, but the undeniable fact remains: 15-0.

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