Michigan endured an excruciating loss Saturday, a 30-27 defeat in double overtime at arch rival Ohio State that may well have knocked the Wolverines out of the College Football Playoff. Michigan Coach Jim Harbaugh blew his cool during that game, and afterward, he sharply criticized the officiating crew in comments that earned him a reprimand from the Big Ten, which also fined the school $10,000.
The Big Ten announced the punishments Monday in a statement that cited Conference Agreement 10.01., which includes this passage: “The Big Ten Conference expects all contests involving a member institution to be conducted without compromise to any fundamental element of sportsmanship. Such fundamental elements include integrity of competition, civility toward all, and respect, particularly toward opponents and officials.”
In his postgame news conference, Harbaugh said that he was “bitterly disappointed in the officiating.” He was particularly vexed about a call on a fourth-down play late in regulation that gave the Buckeyes a game-saving first down. But the coach also pointed out several other specific examples of what he thought was a pattern of calls not going his team’s way.
“One [penalty] not called on us on [Michigan wide receiver] Grant Perry who was being hooked before the ball got there, and then a previous penalty they called on [Michigan defensive back] Delano Hill, the ball was uncatchable and by the receiver,” Harbaugh said (via mlive.com). “I’m bitterly disappointed in the officiating. Can’t make that any more clear. My view on that first down is that it was short.”
Harbaugh noted that Ohio State had “two penalties called [on it] all day, and he claimed that “multiple holding penalties” and “multiple false starts” committed by the Buckeyes were not flagged. “The official on my sideline was more concerned about whether the coaches were in the [coaches’ box] or out. Their coaches were on the field, practically in the huddle at times,” he added. “So, yeah. I’m bitter.”
“Coaches are teachers as well, and there is an expectation that they set the example for students and others in the area of sportsmanship,” the Big Ten said in its statement.