No one can ever accuse Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh of not being willing to think outside the box.
As college football fans have seen time and time again, the Wolverines coach is just full of surprises.
Now, with NIL money flowing like the Mississippi River and conferences like the Big 10 and ACC making major realignment moves, Jim Harbaugh thinks it is time for a change in how college athletes get paid.
To begin his press conference on Monday, Harbaugh issued a few very bold statements.
“These are are my views, my opinions,” he began. “As I’ve seen college football, college sports, take shape since my days as a student athlete and now as a current coach. I want to take this opportunity to speak about the big picture. Much bigger than any one game, bigger than any game this season, the issues I see affecting college athletics, college football and more specifically the student athletes – the talent.
“The big one. I first started mentioning back in 2020 and then again in 2022 at the Big Ten Media Days,” Harbaugh continued. “I continue to advocate for that today, a system of revenue sharing with the student-athletes.
“I’m aware and understand when someone speaks out in defense for those without a voice, attempts are made to diminish the individual’s character and credibility. As a former player and current coach mentoring many of these student-athletes, what I want to do is be a voice for the student-athletes.
“I want them to be treated with the respect and the dignity that they deserve.
“What I don’t understand is how the NCAA, television networks, conferences, universities and coaches can continue to pull in millions, and in some cases billions, of dollars in revenue off the efforts of college student-athletes across the country, without providing enough opportunity to share in the ever-increasing revenues.”
Harbaugh then went on to say that his suspension to begin the season is more than a “slap on the wrist.” Rather, it is “more like a baseball bat to the kneecaps.”
Circling back to the idea of college athletes participating in revenue sharing, some coaches, like UCLA men’s basketball coach Mick Cronin, make it sound like such a thing is an impossibility.
Earlier this month, Cronin claimed that there are “about four athletic departments that actually make money in the entire nation because of scholarship bills and budget expenses.”
He also blamed teams jumping from one conference to another on all of the other sports – not football.
“[People] don’t realize the athletic department at UCLA is 25 sports and 700 kids on scholarship that they have to pay, the university, for those scholarships,” he said.
Cronin continued, “So now you start to see, ‘Why do they need all this money?'”
From what Jim Harbaugh had to say on Monday, it sounds like he would disagree with that statement.