Harbaugh doesn't anticipate suspensions from shoe investigation

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News
Jim Harbaugh

Ann Arbor — Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh does not anticipate any player suspensions as a result of the school's compliance department investigating whether any current players sold team-issued Nike shoes, which would be an NCAA violation.

ESPN reported last Friday that shoe-marketplace site StockX found 23 pairs of Michigan team-issued shoes on its exchange. That came on the heels of North Carolina’s suspension of 13 football players earlier last week after the school found they had sold team-issued Nike shoes, which is an NCAA secondary violation. North Carolina informed Michigan, Marquette and Cal that their shoes also were being sold from the same retailer.

Harbaugh said Monday night after practice that all the shoes distributed to the current football players have been accounted for.

“A couple shoes that were reported that were (size) 14’s out there,” Harbaugh said. “We’ve gone through everybody that’s currently on the roster, and they’ve accounted for those pairs of shoes. The latest one I saw, was a No. 52. There’s nobody currently on the roster that had that number last year.”

Harbaugh was asked if he anticipates any players being suspended. Michigan’s season opens Sept. 1 at Notre Dame. North Carolina suspended players for two to four games.

“No,” he said.

While players signed a document saying they will not sell the school-issued shoes, former players and staff can sell them. Michigan marks the shoes before giving them to the players.

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“The general public thinks, and we talk about it, and I read these articles, that they just assume when it's Michigan shoes it must be some player on the current roster,” Harbaugh said. “But remember, there were players on the roster last year in the numbers of 40 that graduated. And coaches, too. We had two coaches with size 14 shoes that aren't here anymore.

“Just don't assume it's somebody on the roster. Hopefully the guys on the roster that have college eligibility understand the consequences. I know they've been briefed on it. Our guys are pretty smart. And if they don't, if someone sold their shoes, they’re going to be ineligible.”

Michigan offensive lineman Jon Runyan Jr. said the players understand that when they’re given shoes, they are not meant to be sold.

“We sign a contract before we get our shoes,” Runyan said. “Every time we get a shoe, we sign a contract saying we’re not going to sell them until we’re done with our eligibility. I just keep my shoes. They’re mine to wear.”

Khaleke Hudson, who plays the viper in Michigan’s defense, said the team had a meeting about the shoe investigation. He said they’ve been given four or five pair of Nike shoes. Michigan signed a deal with Nike in 2016 worth nearly $174 million. Michigan football became the first school to be part of the Nike Jordan brand.