Amid a turbulent season off the field, No. 3 Michigan made college football history Saturday, becoming the first program with 1,000 wins after defeating Maryland 31-24 in College Park, Md.
The Wolverines continue to lead the NCAA in wins followed by Ohio State and Alabama (963), and Texas and Notre Dame (945) as of Michigan’s victory Saturday.
While coach Jim Harbaugh has accounted for 84 of Michigan’s victories, he wasn’t on the sideline against Maryland as he served part of his three-game suspension as punishment for Michigan’s scouting and sign-stealing scandal. Instead, offensive coordinator Sherrone Moore led the Wolverines to the milestone victory as he continues to serve as acting head coach with Harbaugh absent.
The win marked Michigan’s 11th straight victory this season and sets up a battle of two undefeated Big 10 teams, with the Wolverines hosting the No. 2 Buckeyes next Saturday in their regular-season finale. That will mark the final game Harbaugh will miss as part of his suspension.
Harbaugh’s suspension was the latest major development in a tumultuous year for Michigan, as the program has been the subject of NCAA investigations and has fired multiple staffers.
Michigan and the Big Ten announced Thursday they resolved their legal dispute and Harbaugh would serve the remainder of his suspension. The announcement came less than 24 hours before attorneys representing the two sides were scheduled to deliver arguments in front of a Washtenaw County (Mich.) judge as Michigan sought a court order to keep Harbaugh on the sideline.
The Big Ten agreed to close its investigation, while an NCAA inquiry remains ongoing.
The announcement that Michigan was dropping its legal challenge to the Big Ten’s suspension was an abrupt about-face from the school’s defiant posture in response to Harbaugh’s suspension. An industry source briefed on the investigation said Friday that new information continues to come to light through the NCAA’s interviews with Michigan staff members, widening the scope of a scandal that was initially tied to a single staff member, recruiting analyst Connor Stalions.
Officials from Michigan are participating in those interviews, the source said, and learning information in “real time” as the NCAA investigation unfolds. The Big Ten sought information from the NCAA before assessing Harbaugh’s suspension but has now stepped aside as part of Michigan’s decision to drop its legal challenge.
“Although the Big Ten has closed its investigation, we are continuing to cooperate with the NCAA as it moves forward with its ongoing investigation,” a university spokesperson said in a statement. “Consistent with our commitment to integrity, we will continue to take the appropriate actions, including disciplinary measures, based on information we obtain.”
On Friday, Michigan fired linebackers coach Chris Partridge and said Rick Minter would take over the role. The team did not disclose a reason for Partridge’s firing. Two Michigan sources said the school believes Partridge interfered with the NCAA’s investigation into Michigan’s alleged in-person scouting scheme but hasn’t determined that he was directly involved.
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