Interesting Timing! Michigan Is Under Investigation For NCAA Violations Just As Jim Harbaugh To The NFL Rumors Surface
Once NIL profits were approved by the NCAA in July 2021 and the scope of the transfer portal expanded in unprecedented ways not long thereafter, college football recruiting basically became the equivalent of Star Wars' post-Return of the Jedi politics in the Outer Rim, which we see in the magnificent Disney+ series The Mandalorian.
That is to say, a lawless free-for-all, but still a climate where the preeminent, established powers wield most of the control and influence. So it's kind of a bummer that just before all that shit went down, Jim Harbaugh and Michigan committed these reported recruiting violations. Here are more of the specifics from the ESPN report highlighted at the top of the blog:
"The violations include alleged impermissible contact with recruits during the NCAA-mandated dead periods, as well as the use of a defensive analyst for on-field coaching activities, a rules violation. Sources told ESPN that Harbaugh's cooperation with NCAA enforcement staff during the investigation is also being examined. Harbaugh could face penalties that include a multigame suspension, sources said."
Mere hours prior, Harbaugh put out at statement to downplay the rumors that he'd be leaving Ann Arbor for an NFL coaching opportunity:
Text of the tweet aside, this was far from a definitive statement that he'd be back.
I doubt Harbaugh himself has the PR wherewithal to even know what exactly he's getting across. I imagine people handle that for him. Even with that assistance, it still comes across as clunky. Why? Just look at how he leads off the second of those two full paragraphs: "While no one knows what the future holds…"
Based on what I outlined here a few days ago…
…People close to Harbaugh believe he's bolting for the best NFL offer and there isn't much ambiguity about it. Harbaugh didn't exactly deny the pretty-strongly-reported notion that he's going to leave.
Perhaps he knew this NCAA investigation was on the horizon and got out ahead of it by leaking his interest in returning to the professional ranks of coaching. Then again, why put out the statement hinting at a longer stay at Michigan earlier on Thursday? I'm as confused as Harbaugh is strange.
I don't blame Harbaugh for leaving town, whatever goes down with this NCAA violation crap. Michigan demanded he take a pay cut a couple years ago even though he was faring better to begin his tenure than any of his recent predecessors. This guy has pissed excellence and success everywhere he's gone. Prior to the 2021 campaign, he saw his base salary slashed from $8 million to $4 million.
I would feel a certain type of way!! Sure, you love your alma mater, no big deal, all for the greater good blah blah blah. PSSSSSH please. You think someone as competitive as Jim Harbaugh didn't take that hard, or as a serious sign of disrespect? Uhh LOL meanwhile Lincoln Riley is over there at USC with a reported fat $110 million mega contract. HELLO.
Harbaugh responded to that degrading pay cut by losing a grand total of one regular-season game from then till now, beat Ohio State twice, won two conference titles and secured two College Football Playoff berths. The NCAA are a bunch of killjoys. Coming down on Michigan for cutting a few corners on recruiting? How the fuck else are they gonna compete with the likes of Ohio State, Alabama, Georgia and the rest of the nation's elite?
…Especially now if Harbaugh leaves.
No offense, Michigan. Just calling it like I see it. And I can't be the only one who sees it in such a way. Harbaugh has all the leverage here. Wild that people still will nitpick him and say he "can't win the big game" or whatever. I just laugh. See how the Wolverines fare without him if it comes to pass. Either way, gonna be an ugly, tense month or two for Michigan's football program as the NFL hiring cycle whirls around and this NCAA investigation plays out.