The University of Michigan fired co-offensive coordinator Matt Weiss Friday amid an investigation into alleged computer crimes inside the football team’s offices on campus.
The announcement of Weiss’ firing was made in a statement Friday afternoon from Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel.
“After a review of university policies, the athletic department has terminated the appointment of co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Matt Weiss,” the statement read. “Consistent with university policy, we will have no further comment on this personnel matter.”
Weiss, 39, responded moments after his firing was announced via Twitter: “I am proud of the success we achieved over the last two seasons and grateful to all of the Michigan players, coaches, and staff. I have nothing but respect for the University. of Michigan and the people who make it such a great place. I look forward to putting this matter behind me and returning my focus to the game that I love.”
Weiss had been suspended with pay before the firing. According to his contract, Michigan ceases salary payments to Weiss on the day of termination, “except to the extent already vested.” Weiss made a base salary of $850,000 in 2022 as well as performance bonuses that pushed him over $1 million.
Friday’s development comes as there is an ongoing investigation by the UM police department of alleged computer crimes involving unauthorized access to email accounts at Schembechler Hall, which houses the football team’s offices.
The allegation involving email accounts was included in daily university police logs Jan. 5, five days before sources told The Detroit News that UM police investigators searched Weiss’ home in the 2000 block of Norway Road in Ann Arbor. The sources, including an eyewitness, said law enforcement officers and unmarked vehicles were present at the home.
The Detroit News reported about Weiss’ suspension Tuesday, one day after UM President Santa Ono announced that Harbaugh would return to coach the football team next season after interviewing recently with the Denver Broncos.
“Mr. Weiss’ statement, if approved by lawyers, which I think is safe to assume, does not sound like someone worried about being charged with a crime,” Birmingham criminal defense lawyer Wade Fink told The News on Friday.
According to a crime log entry on Jan. 5, a UM employee told police someone accessed university email accounts without authorization at Schembechler Hall, which houses the football team and football offices, including that of coach Jim Harbaugh and Weiss.
“Upon further investigation,” the log entry reads, “it was found that a crime may have been committed.”
The Detroit News reported Tuesday night that Weiss had been suspended with pay from the university. This came shortly after UM police confirmed the investigation to The News. UM Deputy Police Chief Crystal James issued a statement prompted by questions from The News about law enforcement searches on Jan. 10 at Weiss’ home in Ann Arbor and at Schembechler Hall.
“The University of Michigan Police Department is investigating a report of computer access crimes that occurred at Schembechler Hall during Dec. 21 through the 23rd of 2022,” James’ statement read. “Since this is an ongoing investigation, there is no additional information to share.”
Weiss, when contacted Tuesday night by The News, requested a copy of the deputy police chief’s statement and confirmed he is “fully cooperating” with investigators.
“I am aware of the ongoing investigation by the University of Michigan Police Department and fully cooperating with investigators,” Weiss wrote in a text message. “I look forward to the matter being resolved. Out of respect for the integrity of the investigation, I will not have any further comment.
Two sources familiar with the investigation say Weiss’ home in the 2000 block of Norway Road in Ann Arbor was searched by investigators Jan. 10. The sources, including an eyewitness, said law enforcement officers and unmarked vehicles were present at the home.
The 3,351-square-foot home was purchased by an entity called Old Pro Trust for $1.525 million in May. The home is one mile away from Harbaugh’s home.
“I am speculating like everyone else,” Fink said, “but here are the legal tea leaves I’m reading: first, the involvement of U of M police rather than other agencies tells us this was likely a university-initiated complaint; second, the issuance of a search warrant to intrude into someone’s home suggests more than something petty; and, third, the athletic department statement I can read one of two ways, either they are getting out in front of criminal charges, or the suggestion they are not talking about it any further could mean no charges and we can all read the (police ) reports for ourselves.”
Weiss was hired from the Baltimore Ravens to coach Michigan’s quarterbacks in February 2021 and was later promoted to co-offensive coordinator with Sherrone Moore.
Weiss made a $600,000 base salary in 2021 and signed a three-year contract extension in early 2022 that bumped his pay to $850,000 each year through Jan. 10, 2025.
Michigan finished 13-1 in 2022 and contract bonuses were triggered for Weiss and co-offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Moore. Each received $100,000 because Michigan finished in the Big Ten’s top two scoring offenses (Michigan was second behind Ohio State) and also another $100,000 for the offense finishing among the nation’s top 10 (Michigan finished sixth). Each also earned a minimum of $200,000 for regular-season wins, including and exceeding nine wins, according to contract language.
Weiss came to Ann Arbor after spending 12 seasons (2009-20) on the Ravens staff for head coach John Harbaugh, Jim Harbaugh’s older brother. Weiss was a graduate assistant at Stanford (2005-08) where he had previously worked for Jim Harbaugh.
This is a developing story.