There are indications that the University of Michigan is reconsidering its commitment to head coach Jim Harbaugh in light of an investigation into alleged sign-stealing by the program.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the Wolverines have rescinded a contract extension offer to Harbaugh while the NCAA investigates allegations that Michigan sent spies to scout opposing teams in person and filmed their signals.
Leading up to the bye week in Week 9, there were rumors that Harbaugh would accept and sign a long-awaited contract extension. However, this latest report suggests that is now unlikely to happen as the program awaits the conclusion of the investigation.
According to a tweet from Front Office Sports, Michigan has pulled a contract offer that would have made Harbaugh the highest-paid coach in the Big Ten. The decision to withdraw the offer came after the sign-stealing allegations surfaced this month.
The University of Michigan reportedly rescinded the contract offer due to concerns over the sign-stealing scandal, signaling possible hesitation about the future relationship with Harbaugh. Despite having his pay cut during the pandemic, Harbaugh received a new contract last year after bringing the team back to national prominence. The Wolverines’ strong performance this year positioned Harbaugh for another raise, but the school withdrew the offer following the sign-stealing allegations.
Further reports have implicated staff member Connor Stalions as the individual responsible for the sign-stealing scandal. There is also evidence of Stalions purchasing tickets to opponents’ games to record video of their sidelines, which violates NCAA rules.
In 2022, Harbaugh agreed to a five-year, $36.7 million contract after the team’s successful 2021 season, which finished with a 12-2 record. Last season, the Wolverines achieved a 13-1 record.
While Harbaugh had expressed interest in returning to the NFL, it seems this was mainly a negotiation tactic to secure a better deal from the program.
Just earlier this month, when asked about a new contract, Harbaugh stated that he wants to be somewhere he is wanted and appreciated. He emphasized the importance of his employers expressing satisfaction with his work, which typically translates into a contractual agreement.
When asked if he feels wanted at Michigan, Harbaugh replied affirmatively. He also mentioned that working on the contract extension has been a three-and-a-half-year process. However, it now seems that further delays may occur, or the extension may not happen at all, depending on the outcome of the NCAA investigation, which has become a major story in college football.