It’s been an eventful 36 hours for Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh, to say the least.
Amidst the media circus of Harbaugh’s rumored four-game suspension to begin the 2023 season, the Wolverines’ head coach made a substantial move in the Name, Image and Likeness sphere — publicly endorsing the Champions Circle NIL collective as a “trusted agent” of his program.
“Champions Circle and Valiant Management Group embody the core values of our program by providing NIL opportunities for our student-athletes,” Harbaugh said in his announcement video. “I consider them to be a trusted agent and encourage our Michigan family to support them in their NIL efforts.
“I encourage all of (the Michigan fanbase) to contribute to Champions Circle which provides direct support to our dedicated student-athletes to ensure that they are Victors in the classroom, in the community and on the playing field.”
Champions Circle Co-Founder, and CEO of Valiant Management Group, Jared Wangler said in a statement: “We believe strongly that it is important to reward University of Michigan student-athletes for the value they bring to the university, but in keeping with Michigan traditions, it is also important to help the athletes develop the personal, leadership and financial skills to succeed far into the future. Our coaches recruit the right student-athletes to the University of Michigan, and the Champions Circle will support their efforts by rewarding sustained educational achievement and personal development. Whether you’re a student, alum or fan, it’s great to be a Michigan Wolverine. This is your opportunity to make an impact on student-athletes and help Michigan win championships across all sports.”
Harbaugh’s endorsement is the latest in what appears to be a more focused attempt by the Michigan athletic department to bring U-M affiliated NIL efforts to the foreground. In December of last year, Athletic Director Warde Manuel released an “update” on NIL efforts that shone a light on Champions Circle and other groups.
This is ostensibly the second NIL related effort Harbaugh has endorsed in recent months, as he wrote a public testimonial for new initiative Hail! Impact back in March.
“Hail! Impact embodies our transformational philosophy on NIL by providing valuable service opportunities to our student-athletes while simultaneously benefiting the community we call home,” Harbaugh said. “Having worked closely with (Hail! Impact founder Chin Weerappuli) during the 2022 championship season, I have full confidence in his team delivering a winning platform for players, nonprofit partners and donors alike.”
Whether it’s service based initiatives or more traditional collectives, Harbaugh seems intent on getting his athletes the most exposure he possibly can.