After yet another rivalry game loss for Michigan, this time to a Michigan State team that lost to Rutgers last week, Wolverines fans are starting to lose their patience with head coach Jim Harbaugh.
Harbaugh, who signed a seven-year deal back in 2014, is contracted for the rest of the 2020 season and the entire 2021 campaign. He was reportedly negotiating an extension this past spring before COVID hit, but it never came to fruition. Michigan’s brass may have wound up saving the school a lot of money with that decision.
If Michigan decides it instead wants to move on from Harbaugh, it has two options. It can either wait until after the 2021 season, or it can figure out a way to buy him out beforehand.
Harbaugh’s compensation package totals just over $8 million in 2020, but it isn’t all salary – he has a life-insurance policy as part of the deal.
It’s unclear exactly what Harbaugh will be due in 2021 given the complexities of the contract, but most estimates suggest it’s around $10 million. So if the Wolverines stick it out for the 2020 campaign (likely given the shortened season due to COVID) they’ll be looking at a buyout around that number.
It’s a high number, but it isn’t out of the range for Michigan. It’s amazing how fast things have gone downhill in Ann Arbor.
Call it what you want. Jim Harbaugh recruited this team. Jim Harbaugh didn’t have this team ready against a very mediocre MSU team.
This program should not be here after six years. Period. End of story. It’s done. They tried. They brought him in to do more than this.
— Jordan Strack (@JordanStrack) October 31, 2020
Harbaugh was actually asked about his contract situation earlier this month. He gave an awkward answer about the school having “bigger fish to fry” this year.
Michigan still has time to turn its season around, but a loss – especially a lopsided one – to Ohio State later this season could seal Harbaugh’s fate. He was brought in to compete with the Buckeyes and so far that just hasn’t happened.