The Jim Harbaugh contract details were released this week, and spoiler alert–the numbers are ridiculous.
The NCAA is my favorite “non-profit” organization because they can always find themselves making headlines with controversial topics, like money for example. The money being thrown at college coaches in Division 1 sports is astronomical, and in some situations just as much if not more than a good NFL coach. Harbaugh will be making a reported $5 million a year salary–not including all of the signing bonuses that could earn him a solid $8 million. His seven-year contract does not stop there. He will see a 10% pay increase after the first three years and then again after five years. After his first year, his performance will be reviewed and apportioned properly upon success. Some numbers he could see in his future are $250,000 if he wins the Big Ten championship, and $125,000 for just making it there. $300,000 if selected for the College Football Playoff. $50,000 if he is named Big Ten Coach of the Year. $75,000 if he is named National Coach of the Year. $500,000 for winning the National championship, and a modest $150,000 for a 960 or higher Academic Progress Rate (APR). To put that number in perspective, a 930 APR is equivalent to a 50% graduation rate, so Harbaugh needs to make sure his team is above that NCAA requirement if they want to be able to compete in championships.
Needless to say, Harbaugh is going to be making some serious money in Michigan. The “going back home” and “wanting to return to his Alma mater” excuses are cute. However, I think it is pretty obvious why Harbaugh agreed to make this move, and it has everything to do with a trail of green dollar signs leading the way. Michigan is getting the publicity they need, the coach they want, and if all goes in their favor they will see great results. I do genuinely hope Harbaugh succeeds, yet I just can’t help but continue to express my fascination with these professional league numbers being pumped into NCAA sports at the same time (but I’ll save that rant for another day).