Michigan Wolverines Should Write Jim Harbaugh a Blank Check


Before we get into what Michigan should do for Jim Harbaugh, let’s first give a quick history lesson.

In 2006, the Alabama Crimson Tide had fallen to the laughingstock of college football. The greatest program in the Deep South had fallen off the face of the Earth.

Not only were they a mediocre program falling apart. They were also rejected by Rich Rodriguez, Greg Schiano, and other coaches for the opportunity. An ongoing joke was that Dolly Parton turned down the Alabama job.

Then, Athletic Director Mal Moore stepped his game up. He went after Miami Dolphins Head Coach Nick Saban and essentially wrote him a blank check. At the time, he was guaranteed $4 million a year for eight years, reaching $32 million.

That was an unheard of contract then, and the University of Alabama was raked through the coals for doing so. It was seen as a desperate hire, and the rest of the college football world turned on them.

Who’s laughing now? The Alabama Crimson Tide football program’s success has proven that the investment in Saban has paid off.

Now, with a $6.9 million a year salary, Saban still might be the most UNDER-paid coach in all of college football.

Why is this relevant? Because while the greatest college football program in the South is back on track, the greatest college football program in the North has fallen off the face of the Earth and is in even a worse position than Alabama was in 2006.

Michigan is now the laughingstock of college football. Brady Hoke’s failure speaks for itself. To make it worse, Rich Rodriguez, whom they fired, is now laughing his way to Coach of the Year Honors in the Pac-12. And now, to add insult to injury, Les Miles, who went to Michigan, turned down the job again to stay at LSU.

Simply put, the program is in disarray.

And now it’s time for Interim Athletic Director, with support from the school, to up the ante.

Jim Harbaugh is still out there in a chaotic situation with San Francisco. It only seems logical that they’ve held out this long on a coaching search because they’re hoping for Harbaugh to return to his former school. And if Harbaugh is on the fence, the solution is simple.

Write him a blank check.

Offer him $10 million if you have to. Why not? Harbaugh having a chance to leave his situation in San Francisco and go back to coach at his Alma Mater for more money than anybody would be almost impossible for him to turn down.

And it’s an investment GUARANTEED to pay off. Seriously. Harbaugh, like Saban, is a sure bet to succeed. He is obviously a brilliant coach, he manages talent well, he’s a guru on both sides of the ball, and he is controlling enough to be perfect for college football.

This guy built an FCS powerhouse in San Diego, an FBS powerhouse in Stanford, and an NFL Powerhouse with the 49ers. By the way, all of those teams were terrible when he took over. This guy is a proven winner in every situation.

Harbaugh would turn Michigan back into the dominant force in the Big Ten, and it would be within two years. He’d have no trouble recruiting, no trouble assimilating a great staff, and no trouble winning. This investment is as certain as the investment Alabama made in Saban eight years ago.

Who cares what people say about Michigan if they throw a ton of money at Harbaugh?

Michigan will be the one laughing within at least three years. Complain that college football is all about the money. Complain that it was shady how Harbaugh arrived in Michigan.

At the end of the day, it will be nothing but pathetic shots thrown by jealous fans and columnists for other teams.

If you need proof on what an investment in a great coach could do, take a look at this Forbes article on what Saban’s success has done not just for the Alabama football program but for the school as a whole.

The school increased in undergraduate population by 33 percent, it has grown from less than a third of the school being from out of state to more than half of the school being from out of state, the faculty has grown by 400 since 2007, this has all happened with tuition costs rising, and the university is still much more selective in admitting students than it once was.

Make no bones about it. The success of the football program is the reason for that. And it shows that while Saban makes lots of money, his salary should honestly be tripled.

The same would happen to Michigan if they brought in Harbaugh. Pay him an unheard of $10 million salary now. In four years, he’ll be considered the most underpaid coach in college football despite being the highest paid coach in college football.

And while Michigan and Alabama stay in the hunt for national titles every year, fans are fighting to get into the Big House, ticket pricing and revenue soar, and the interest in the university as a whole explodes because of the success of the football program, the complaints about the blank check will die quickly.

So go for it Michigan. Whatever Harbaugh demands, give it to him. The returns will be too great.

Next: Vegas College Football Bowl Predictions Part I

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