Jim Harbaugh is the head coach of Michigan, not exactly a scrappy underdog in the college football world, but he takes exception to the recruiting tactics of the sport’s “football factories.”
Harbaugh went on the record with Sports Illustrated in an article about LSU’s efforts to shut other schools out of camps in the state of Louisiana, and some of his remarks come across as less than self-aware.
Southeastern Louisiana and Tulane were set to host Harbaugh and coaches from other outside programs this summer, but all were systematically disinvited in favor of local powerhouse LSU.
One by one, they were asked to leave the state of Louisiana before they even arrived. Football coaches from Texas, Texas A&M, Arkansas and Houston all planned to work satellite camps at Southeastern Louisiana University this summer. They were all unceremoniously disinvited last week. Tulane had announced it would work a camp with the Michigan staff. Disinvited, too.
If the coaches were confused, clarity came quickly. Tulane soon found a replacement for Michigan: LSU. And Southeastern Louisiana announced one new partner after severing ties with those A-list schools: Yes, also LSU.
Most coaches affected declined the chance to comment. Harbaugh, as we all know, is not most coaches.
“It’s definitely a strategy by several football factories to prevent competitors on their turf, the kids be darned,” Harbaugh said.
Harbaugh is consistent in his assertion that open camps and partnerships are good for the players and creating more opportunities, and he’s likely right on that. But painting Michigan, which is paying Harbaugh a $7 million salary that is only trumped by Nick Saban’s new mega-contract, as an underdog here is pretty goofy.
I’m personally sympathetic to Harbaugh’s cause here, but he may want to frame this one a bit differently.