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John U. Bacon, Author of Overtime

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October 26, 2023 4:12 pm

John U. Bacon, Author of Overtime

Zach Gelb Show / Zach Gelb

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October 26, 2023 4:12 pm

Author of Overtime joins Zach to talk about the allegations surrounding Jim Harbaugh and Michigan.

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You could be debt-free in as little as 24 to 48 months. Visit to learn more and get started. Alrighty, this is Zach Gelb's show, Coast to Coast on CBS Sports Radio. Another day and well, another conversation about this latest Michigan sign-stealing scandal as we try to gather more information. I figured we'd talk to our pal, John U. Bacon, who is a New York Times bestselling author, and he had unprecedented access a few years ago to the Michigan program in a book that he had called Overtime, Jim Harbaugh and the Michigan Wolverines at the Crossroads of College Football, and John is kind enough to jump on board for a few minutes with us. John, I know this is a pretty open question right out of the gate, and I appreciate you joining us, but after having some time to listen a little bit and read some of the things that are out there since last week, just how do you react to all these allegations against Michigan?

Well, it's drip, drip, drip, isn't it? Every day it's a news story and I haven't seen one that is good for Michigan yet, so that is obviously a problem on the PR front at the very least. The PR battle has basically already been lost, I think, no matter what else happens next. What happens next in terms of the NCAA remains unknown, of course, for a lot of reasons. One, they've not yet, I don't think, given Michigan the notice of allegations which gives Michigan 90 days to respond. Michigan so far seems to have observed the gag order, so they've not responded to anything yet, so we're not sure what they're going to have to say in response. But obviously the evidence keeps on piling up against Conner Stallion, the Michigan analyst slash scout, I guess. So that is piling up and obviously the outcome is unclear. Now, one of the reasons why the outcome is unclear is this rule is not well known and has rarely been used. Newswick and figure 2016, a Baylor assistant coach received a half game suspension for breaking it, and I don't know anyone else who has been accused of breaking it. So we're in a bit of uncharted territory here.

Yeah, no doubt about it, and I think the public reaction has been pretty severe. I think there's a lot of people that cover college football that have been digging, but it is interesting to me. Like I work with Tiki Barber, he works right down the hall. I go, do you think this is that big of a deal? He goes, no, I turn on ESPN.

I hear Jeff Saturday's like everyone's got to calm down. People that have played football, they kind of roll their eyes at this and go, well, Michigan's not the only team that has done it. Now, if they broke a rule, there has to be some punishment, but I don't think, John, you bacon, this means we got to throw the book at Michigan and end their season right now. Well, that is not going to happen almost no matter what, because the NCAA works a whole lot more slowly than that, and we all know that, of course. So I think six years in the Kansas basketball case is going to be six years. This one strikes me a lot simpler than that, of course. But the reaction is a bit of a Rorschach test. Michigan fans, of course, think that it's jaywalking and there are many enemies, of course, think they should be shot without trial.

So probably somewhere in the middle is what's going to happen, is my guess. Even two years ago, the NCAA almost got rid of the rule in their own writing, saying is a minimal competitive advantage. However, like you said, it's still a rule. It's rule eleven point six point one. It's also unclear what the penalties are.

Most of the rules have attached to them like like laws, a sentencing guideline. There's none of that here. So it's wide open, man. It truly is wide open right now. So John, you bacon here with us at first, naturally.

I was like up. Ryan Day probably ratted out Michigan to the NCAA because his fans are starting to turn on him. But I saw that you did an interview and you were talking about Jim Stapleton. Can you just give us a little further intel there on why you think it is Jim Stapleton, I guess, who was the guy that kind of informed the NCAA about this? I don't know if it's Jim Stapleton who informed the NCAA about this. I was referring to media leaks. So there is that who informed them in the first place. I recall and it was Pete Thamel's article early on two Big Ten coaches he had talked to about this doesn't mean they're the informants either. So that's not clear. So so, OK, if it's about leaking the information then with Jim Stapleton, why would he do that?

Like, right. From what I read, he's a Michigan alum. He's on the NCAA infractions committee. And isn't he a minority owner with the Vikings? Is he just like not like Harbaugh?

He does not like Harbaugh, but that doesn't make you the leaker, obviously. So why? I can't answer. Gotcha.

All righty. John, you bake in here with us. What do you think a potential like punishment could be? I just saw a report from Pete Thamel has been all over this. The NCAA enforcement staff has been at the University of Michigan this week to look into the signed ceiling probe. Their arrival on campus just a week after the investigation formally launch is an indication of the priority the case has taken. Like, I know that you have to look way down the road here, but what do you think a potential punishment could look like? And again, we're it's wide open. A month ago, I would have guessed maybe a slap on the wrist, but obviously the tension that it's getting and the more involved Michigan appears to be, the more serious the punishment is probably going to be.

The second factor, again, is not just what Michigan, I'm sorry, the NCAA does with Michigan, but also how Harbaugh and Michigan decide to respond and his contract and all the rest. So there's a lot at stake here. And the outcome is truly on almost every front unknown. This is, like I said, uncharted territory. So it's hard to know.

It's hard even guess what the outcome might be in this case. When you get to his contract, because this has been right on the record. And you know this, John, you bake and there's been reports out there and you've had stuff on it, too, that it looked like they were like inching close to get in a contract extension done.

Now is just everything on pause. And it's kind of a wait and see if they're going to take care of Jim Harbaugh, pending on what happens here with the investigation. Well, two weeks ago, two higher ups at Michigan who are negotiating the contract or part of that process told me that they were going to have a new contract for Harbaugh by the end of the month.

That's October. And that would make him the highest paid coach in the Big Ten. Now, what this process does to that, if that promise still holds or not, is not at all clear. No one said either way at Michigan or elsewhere.

So who knows is the answer there. How about that, Zach, for yet another edifying answer from me? There you go. Well, like if I'm Michigan, I would still try to get this deal done because it's like you're backing your guy when everyone's trying to tear your guy down.

I would just say bleep, it will deal with what the consequences are and really show him. We want you to be our coach moving forward and forget about the NFL. That's how Michigan should handle this. It depends on whom you listen to, obviously.

So obviously, you know, NFL and so on. So who knows? And I really do not know what Michigan is going to do in this case, but I know that's open ended. I know the promise was made two weeks ago, but I don't know where that promise stands now. So that is now up in the air.

Yeah. And I don't know how severe the punishment is going to be. There's going to be some sort of punitive action. It wouldn't shock me. And I've been saying this all year. When you go back to the other recruiting violations that this drives Harbaugh out of college football, even though he clearly loves Michigan, it's his school. If you had to kind of handicap this right now, put a percentage on it, that he goes back to the NFL, how likely do you think that is with now another thing thrown his way?

Great question. Certainly, I would say two weeks ago, the odds of him going to the NFL were very slim. And now I'd say the odds are much better.

It doesn't mean I got it on the over versus the under. But again, so many unknowns here. We have no idea how long the NCAA is going to take, what the response is going to be, what the punishment might be as well. Harbaugh has already won manual and Harbaugh together did three games this fall, a three day, three game voluntary suspension for the level two violations. And the question about did he lie about those or not? That was the open question.

The NCAA, they conceded the first four points. So that's where they are. If how they respond next is that will drive what happens next with with Harbaugh in the NFL.

But certainly I would say the odds of him going to the NFL are much higher today than they would have been two weeks ago. Have you talked to Jim? Just wondering since all this stuff has kind of hit the fan? I'm not. All right. Well, let me ask you this just with your connections. Then last thing I'll ask you, John, you bacon.

Is there anything else that you want to add? Because I know you get a lot of people that tell you a lot of things about the Michigan program. Is there anything else you sort of want to add here when you wrap up a thought or two about everything that transpired here? I often go back to the great William Goldman quote.

He's the guy who wrote The Princess Bride and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Nobody knows anything. And right now there's there's some of that going on. There's also the question of the private investigative group that apparently found this stuff.

That's an open question also. I that that surprised me. I think The Washington Post reported that. Yeah. So that's also surprising. And I've never seen that one before either.

So who knows what's going on there? Yeah. Maybe it was just Ryan Day. Well, he does have a mustache and a beard already.

So maybe he was shaving for a little bit of them was submitting things to the NCAA. All kidding aside, John, you bacon. Always great to connect to. Thanks so much. If you hear anything, let us know. You got it. Thanks, Zach.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-10-26 18:24:40 / 2023-10-26 18:29:36 / 5

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