Jim Harbaugh's tenure at Michigan has been complicated, to say the least. While he's certainly improved the program in his four years at the helm, he's had trouble winning big games. The Wolverines have struggled against the likes of Ohio State and Michigan State. They've also had trouble in bowl games.
In early September, Michigan insider John U. Bacon is releasing a new book - titled Overtime: Jim Harbaugh and the Michigan Wolverines at the Crossroads of College Football - about the Harbaugh era at Michigan. This week, a book review by Jeff Arnold on Forbes revealed an interesting tidbit.
One of the chapters deals with Michigan's recruiting battle with other schools. Harbaugh reportedly told Bacon "it's hard to beat the cheaters."
It doesn't look like Harbaugh goes after any programs specifically. Here's part of the review:
In Overtime, Bacon examines the NCAA’s allowance for universities to provide players with a full cost of attendance, which provides schools to factor in expenses such as travel, food and laundry – along with other costs not covered by the cost of tuition. At Michigan, Bacon reports that figure comes in at $2,400 for out-of-state players per term both before and after the NCAA made allowances for the full attendance costs. That number only becomes more magnified when compared to SEC programs, which according to the book, totals $5,386 per term at Alabama, $5,586 at Auburn and $5,666 at Tennessee – which represents a 34 percent bump from the previous rate.
Harbaugh, who has made plenty of enemies south of the Mason-Dixon line since taking over at Michigan, has poked the cages of SEC coaches repeatedly and in the book, speaks to the disparity in spending by simply telling Bacon, “(It’s) hard to beat the cheaters.”
There's no doubt that some college football programs bend - or break - the rules when it comes to recruiting. But it isn't every day that you see a major head coach somewhat admitting that his program is at a disadvantage because of it.
Harbaugh, in his fifth year, will be looking for his first win against rival Ohio State and his first Big Ten title. The Wolverines are a hot pick for the College Football Playoff this year.