Michigan President Santa Ono sends message to Big Ten with strongly worded email

Michigan President Santa Ono sends message to Big Ten with strongly worded email.

Michigan President Santa Ono sends message to Big Ten with strongly worded email

On Friday, Michigan football engaged in discussions with the Big Ten to address the looming threat of action against the Wolverines football team and head coach Jim Harbaugh. This situation arises from an ongoing NCAA investigation into alleged illicit on-site scouting activities. However, University of Michigan President Santa Ono had already conveyed his stance in an email to the Big Ten commissioner the day prior.

Santa J. Ono Michigan President Santa Ono sends message to Big Ten

Santa Ono's Email To Tony Petitti

Here is the full email that Ono sent to Big Ten commissioner, Tony Petitti: (Via The Wolverine)

Dear Tony,

“I look forward to our meeting and am writing now to share some of my deeply held beliefs, which I hope can inform our conversation and guide what we do next. “None of us wants to be in this situation.  The University of Michigan takes its compliance obligations seriously. We are committed to ethics, integrity, and fair play.  It is at our core and always will be.  And that is why I am so deeply concerned about the allegations.    

“We are fully cooperating with the NCAA in its investigation, as it seeks to separate the facts from irresponsible speculation seen in much of the public and social media discourse.

“It’s precisely at these times — when all key facts are not known but others are all too comfortable offering strongly held opinion — that it is essential for everyone to ensure that investigations are conducted fairly and that conclusions are based on what actually happened.  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. We are aware that other representatives of the Big10 are demanding that you take action now, before any meaningful investigation and full consideration of all the evidence.  That is not something our conference rules permit.  And we both know it is not what any other member would want if allegations were raised against their people or programs.  

“The Big10 has not informed us of any investigation of its own, as would be required under conference rules.  And, to be clear, oral updates from NCAA enforcement staff do not and cannot constitute evidence, nor do we think the NCAA would ever intend for an oral update to be given that meaning or weight.   

“The best course of action, the one far more likely to ascertain the facts, is to await the results of the NCAA investigation.  But if you refuse to let the NCAA investigative process play out, the Big10 may not take any action against the University or its players or coaches without commencing its own investigation and offering us the opportunity to provide our position.  That is not just required by our conference rules; it is a matter of basic fairness. “


Santa J. Ono
University of Michigan

What it Means for Michigan Football

It is going to be very interesting to see how this all plays out with the Michigan football program, but one thing is for sure, Sana Ono is not about to suspend Jim Harbaugh without due process playing out.