Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Tuesday he’s proud of the way his brother, Jim, the head football coach at the University of Michigan, has conducted himself during an investigation into whether the Wolverines stole opposing teams’ signs, which ultimately led the Big Ten Conference to ban him from the sidelines during the rest of Michigan’s regular-season games.
No. 2 Michigan beat No. 9 Penn State on Saturday without Jim Harbaugh coaching after a judge did not issue a ruling on the school’s attempt to at least temporarily lift the Big Ten’s penalty against the Wolverines for impermissible, in-person scouting of opponents going back as long as three seasons.
Harbaugh is still able to coach the Wolverines during the practices leading up to games.
“I’m proud as heck of him,” John Harbaugh said after the Ravens’ practice. “I’m really impressed with the way he’s handled himself through all this.”
The NCAA is also investigating the alleged scheme, which centers on a former low-level staffer, Connor Stalions, purchasing tickets to the games of future opponents and sending people to those games to record video of that team’s signals.
John Harbaugh said Jim’s phones and computers have been looked at and “he’s come through this thing with flying colors.” The NCAA has not concluded its investigation or issued any findings.
“I don’t know what they’re trying to get, but they don’t have anything of substance,” he said. “And I just think I’m proud of him. I think it’s a real compliment to our family and to him.”
Ravens practice squad inside linebacker Josh Ross, who played at Michigan under Jim Harbaugh, called coverage of the sign-stealing operation “a little overblown” but said he was proud of the Wolverines’ resilience.
“I think Michigan’s been through a lot,” he said. “It’s been a lot of adversity. It’s been a lot of distractions. The one thing I admire about this team the most, though, is them canceling out all the noise and going out there and balling. I feel like it means the world. I feel like what’s going on with Coach Harbaugh — Jim Harbaugh — I think it’s going to motivate them to be better. I think they’re going to have a great stretch at the end of the year.”
Michigan is set to play at Maryland on Saturday, presenting a rare opportunity for the elder Harbaugh to see his brother’s team in action, as the Ravens are scheduled to play the Cincinnati Bengals on “Thursday Night Football.”
Asked whether he would be at the game or watch it elsewhere with Jim, Harbaugh laughed and said: “I don’t know. I don’t know. Let’s get through Thursday night and see where we’re at.”
“I’ll definitely be pulling for them,” he added.
A court hearing is scheduled Friday to present arguments about granting a restraining order to nullify the Big Ten’s three-game suspension. Jim Harbaugh says he plans to attend.
The Big Ten’s case against the Harbaugh-led Wolverines is that they violated the conference’s sportsmanship policy by conducting “an impermissible, in-person scouting operation over multiple years” that resulted in “an unfair competitive advantage that compromised the integrity of competition.”
Addressing reporters on Monday, Jim Harbaugh said that when the Big Ten handed down its suspension, he was informed via social media, which he saw on someone else’s phone during a flight Friday to Penn State.
Harbaugh said he’s looking for “due process.”
“I’m not looking for special treatment. I’m not looking for a popularity contest. I’m just looking for the merit for what the case is,” he said.
The Associated Press and Baltimore Banner reporters Kyle Goon and Giana Han contributed to this report.