Michigan Wolverines, SEC or ACC school? Sounds insane, right?
Turns out it may not be as crazy as it sounds, if a report from Sports Illustrated’s Michael Rosenberg is to be believed.
Rosenberg reported that the University of Michigan’s board of regents met last week to discuss the possibility of leaving the Big Ten conference entirely. The regents were, as of last week, concerned the conference commissioner Tony Petitti might suspend head coach Jim Harbaugh over the Connor Stalions scandal without due process.
And then Petitti suspended Jim Harbaugh because of the sign stealing scandal without due process.
OutKick’s Trey Wallace also reported on Friday that outside athletic directors have expressed similar concerns. Specifically mentioning that the conference’s decision making process has been
“They (Michigan) know that the Big Ten has rushed this whole situation,” a Power-5 AD told Wallace. “And, they’re using it to their advantage, especially with the NCAA continuing to dig. For the conference to decide on a punishment without a full investigation completed has caused other schools administrators around college football to take notice. The problem for Tony (Petitti) is that he’s setting a pretty bad precedent, while only being on the job for not even a year.
“His other problem is that schools have seen how easy it is to force movement from the conference. Think about it, this whole situation is about a month old. How can you expect members of any conference to have faith in their leader if they are willing to rush a monumental decision like this? I don’t envy my peers.”
Would Michigan Really Leave The Big Ten Over Mishandled Investigation?
Leaving the conference entirely seems like an extreme reaction to the Harbaugh suspension. But the rushed investigation at the behest of the other schools, timing of the announcement and what it says about Petitti as a commissioner can’t inspire confidence moving forward.
If the SI report is to be believed, the fact that it was even mentioned as a possibility suggests it’s more likely than one would have assumed.
The fact that the Wolverines could be seen as one of the favorites to win their first National Championship since 1997 almost certainly plays a role. Losing their head coach during games for the rest of the regular season, with Penn State and Ohio State left on the schedule, is sure to provoke strong reactions.
Michigan’s already filed an emergency injunction to stop the conference and Petitti, showing they won’t be taking the decision lying down.
But taking it to the next level and leaving entirely? Seems unlikely. Until it isn’t. It’s college football, after all.