Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh had an incentive-laden contract in 2021, and with all the success the Wolverines had he really racked up bonus money.
Instead of keeping it all to himself, Harbaugh donated a large chunk of that bonus money back to Michigan athletics employees who took pay cuts during the COVID-19 pandemic.
210 employees received over $1.5 million from Harbaugh.
Part of what made Harbaugh think about giving back was seeing the philanthropy from two players on his team. Running back Blake Corum donated Thanksgiving meals last November, handing them out himself, and quarterback J.J. McCarthy donated money to various children's hospitals across the country.
“I think one of the things that really kind of made me think about it — kind of motivated me to do it — was our running back Blake Corum, over Thanksgiving, took some of his NIL money and did a really neat thing, buying turkeys and food for folks over in Ypsilanti and went and handed them out on Thanksgiving,” Harbaugh said. “J.J. McCarthy, our young quarterback, he did something similar in giving some of his NIL money. And (wife) Sarah and I talked about it and (it was) something that we felt inspired to do. When there were pay reductions during the pandemic, I knew that it was hard on people. I mean my dad worked for Michigan in the athletic department (as a football assistant coach). And I just thought it would be something that would be a very good, positive thing.”
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