Is U-M’s National Title Tainted?
The University of Michigan football team won their first national championship since 1997 on Monday night when they defeated PAC-12 champion Washington, 34-13 in Houston's NRG Stadium.
And while half the state of Michigan (or thereabouts) is elated that the Wolverines have finally climbed to the summit of college football. One of many questions remain...
IS IT TAINTED??
You know why the question is being asked. It's because of the ongoing issues that Michigan has had with the NCAA regarding alleged illegal recruiting during the COVID-19 dead period (which will be likely adjudicated sometime this year). It's not the "buying cheeseburgers for recruits" that's the big deal (That's relatively minor), it's that the NCAA says that head coach Jim Harbaugh (pictured above) lied to them about it.
And of course, the Connor Stallions alleged sign-stealing scandal that dominated the talk this fall. I say alleged because technically it's still allegations, but let's be real, something fishy went on. How severe? We don't know for sure yet. And did the coaches know? Were they involved somehow? Draw your own conclusions.
SO, DID THIS HELP MICHIGAN?
It certainly didn't hurt. You don't (allegedly) commit violations like this if it isn't going to help you on the field. But how much did it help them? It's hard to quantify that.
DID THEY EVEN NEED TO CHEAT (ALLEGEDLY)?
NO!!! That's the thing about all of these allegations/issues with the NCAA. Michigan has more and better talent than just about anybody they play, except for Ohio State and Alabama this year. They didn't need to do this (again, allegedly). They were going to go at least 10-2 without all of the stuff with the NCAA.
WHAT PENALTIES SHOULD MICHIGAN GET, IF ANY?
We won't find out until later this year at the earliest. But there are Michigan State and Ohio State fans that think U-M should have all the wins vacated for at least 2023 and even going back to 2021.
I can't eliminate that as a possibility, but I can't see that happening. What is more realistic is that they'll get some kind of probation (1-2 years) and some scholarship reductions over that time.
WHAT HAPPENS TO JIM HARBAUGH?
I have felt since the summer that he was going to the NFL in 2024, no matter the issues with the NCAA. And I still believe that. He is at the peak of his coaching career. He's accomplished everything he can at Michigan. Jim got the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl 10 years ago. But lost to his brother, John, and the Baltimore Ravens. I think that carrot of a Super Bowl title will be too much for him to say no to.
SO, IS MICHIGAN'S NATIONAL TITLE TAINTED?
I'm not sure. But you men and women are smart, you can make up your own mind.