Michigan president urges B1G commissioner Tony Petitti to respect 'due process' in email
Michigan president Santa Ono has called on the B1G and Big Ten commissioner Tony Petitti to respect the due process of the ongoing investigation into Jim Harbaugh’s program.
According to ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg, Ono’s comments came in a Thursday email to Petitti ahead of a Friday meeting in Ann Arbor between the two in Ann Arbor. It also comes on the heels of reports that B1G coaches expressed a desire to see Petitti use his executive power to discipline Michigan this season.
In Ono’s email (that Rittenberg reports was also sent to B1G presidents and chancellors), he referenced allegations against the Wolverines as deeply concerning. Ono claimed Michigan is “committed to ethics, integrity and fair play” but also urged Petitti to let the NCAA investigation play out before passing discipline.
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According to Ono, all the major facts “are not known” but others have been “all too comfortable” to offer strong opinions on that matter. Ono also called it “essential” for everyone to make sure the investigations are “conducted fairly.”
Ono also shared his email with the other Big Ten presidents and chancellors.
— Adam Rittenberg (@ESPNRittenberg) November 4, 2023
Here is a snippet from that email:
“It’s precisely at these times — when all key facts are not known but others are all too comfortable offering strongly held opinions — that it is essential for everyone to ensure that investigations are conducted fairly and that conclusions are based on what actually happened,” Ono wrote to Petitti. “The reputation and livelihoods of coaches, students, and programs cannot be sacrificed in a rush to judgment, no matter how many and how loudly people protest otherwise. Due process matters.
“We, as would any other member of the Big10, deserve nothing less. Our students, our coaches, our program — all are entitled to a fair, deliberate, thoughtful process.”
Rittenberg went on to report that Petitti’s likely course of action (if he takes any) would target Jim Harbaugh specifically as opposed to a team-related penalty. He also cited a source who said Michigan would “look into every option to protect due process” if Petitti tries to impose a discipline.