With allegations flying and the Michigan football program falling into the crosshairs of the NCAA, Jim Harbaugh has reportedly had his lucrative contract extension pulled by the school, according to Sunday night report from the Wall Street Journal.
The Wall Street Journal reported that an offer on the table from Michigan to make Harbaugh the highest-paid football coach in the Big Ten has been rescinded, citing an unidentified source “with knowledge of the matter.”
An athletic department spokesperson declined to comment on the story, telling MLive in a statement that school officials “do not comment on employment contracts until they are finalized and fully implemented.”
Harbaugh, 59, is currently in the second year of his current five-year contract signed in 2022 that guarantees him more than $7 million annually and includes several performance bonus incentives. The deal came after the first of two consecutive Big Ten championships won by Michigan, which captured the conference title again in 2022 and will start 8-0 this season.
But Harbaugh and the program are in a heated confrontation with the NCAA, the governing body for collegiate athletics, which slapped Michigan with multiple Level II violations earlier this year for impermissible recruiting, improper use of coaches and watching players practice on Zoom. As part of this investigation, Harbaugh himself faces a Level 1 violation for failure to cooperate.
And while Harbaugh served a three-game suspension imposed by the school earlier this season, the most recent NCAA investigation into the program — launched on Oct. 18 with allegations that opponents may not be scouted in person — has done more damage to his reputation.
One low-level employee, analytics assistant Connor Stallions, allegedly purchased tickets to more than 30 games involving as many as 12 of the Big Ten’s other 13 schools, instructed teammates to photograph opponents’ signals on the sideline and pay for their travel. .
Stealing signs and signals is not against NCAA rules, but personal scouting and using electronic devices and equipment to obtain them is.
Stallions was suspended with pay, while Harbaugh did his best to distance himself from the allegations, saying he was not aware of any illegal sign theft and never directed anyone on his staff to engage in such acts.
However, Harbaugh — in his role as head coach and leader of the program — could still face punishment by the NCAA. He is still awaiting a ruling from the governing body on the pending Level 1 breach, and these latest allegations – if true – could help double that penalty.
The news comes less than three weeks after Harbaugh publicly admitted his interest in a new contract, telling reporters in Ann Arbor that “it’s been kind of three-and-a-half years” and “you want to be somewhere ‘wanted’ again.” A recent USA Today poll found that Harbaugh was outside the top 10 in wages among college football coaches this year, behind Penn State’s James Franklin ($8.5 million) and Ohio State’s Ryan Day ($10.271 million).
Harbaugh has flirted with the NFL in recent years, interviewing with the Minnesota Vikings in 2022 before returning to great fanfare and signing a new contract with the Denver Broncos in January. He could look to the professional ranks again this season but is expected to fulfill any remaining NCAA penalty, according to NFL Network.
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