Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh hopped on the Jed Hughes podcast and shared some of his thoughts on the NIL after he was asked about its potential to be exploited. Harbaugh himself has been a supporter of NIL for some time, so it doesn’t come as a surprise he started off his answer addressing the positives that have come from it.
“Before we jump to how it can be exploited in a bad way, as we all know, human nature, that’s something that is definitely a possibility. I think we can all agree, take jersey sales for example, or T-shirts, memorabilia, those kinds of things that every school has, every school has the bookstore or the shop where fans’ orders can go to buy their gear. It makes sense that the player whose number is on that jersey, their name is on that jersey, should share in that revenue,” Harbaugh said, “That example right there, I think, we all agree on.
“Also, to profit off their name, their image and their likeness, I support it. You just support anybody’s ability to do that. That’s all in the positive light and the way we’re approaching things here at Michigan.”
Harbaugh remained firm in his stance that when you come to Michigan to play football, you’re coming for a “transformational experience, not a transactional experience.” He explained, “What that literally means exactly, is we’re not going to pay signing bonuses for players to come onto the team. We’re not going to pay recruits to sign here.”
Being forward in his belief getting to Michigan and putting in the work will produce a good profit doesn’t directly point the finger at any program that doesn’t follow the same ideology, but it’s also not a subtle dig, in a classic Harbaugh way.
“(If) the policy on your team is to buy some of your recruits, I don’t think it’ll sit well,’’ Harbaugh said, “From that standpoint and others, that’s our decision”.
Without directly calling out anyone, Harbaugh shifted his focus back to what NIL was meant for, saying, “When you just look at this, the way that rules are and the very good thing that we were talking about earlier, with name, image and likeness. The players should be able to profit from their name, image and likeness.”
“Some are making it sound like the coach is making a salary cap or something, the one that is writing the checks,” Harbaugh continued, “That’s not what it’s designed for. This is designed for players to profit off their name, image and likeness, period.”
Harbaugh on Michigan repeating success, senior leadership, more
A popular topic this offseason often posits the question of whether or not Michigan can repeat its results from last year. When asked, Harbaugh said, “You have to re-win all of those games again, right? They’re not going to win themselves; we have to re-win them and get prepared to do that.”
One way to replicate success is for the rising seniors to take on their new leadership roles in such a way that the younger guys can feed off their dedication and tenacity.
“Without them, none of it is possible,” Harbaugh said. “They’re the kind of guys who set the tone for it all. Literally put the train on their back and start pushing. The rest of us jump on and start pushing and joining in.”
The next is the understanding of what worked well for the team last year and creating a shared feeling or ideology around that.
“We feel like we have a really good template from last season’s team, just a gritty bunch of guys who were the backbone of our team,” Harbaugh said. “Our team has seen what the results are when everybody buys in and everybody is pulling in the same direction, everybody is bleeding blue, just how good it can be.
“That’s been, to describe a word, the ‘vibe’ that’s on our team. Guys are looking for opportunities anywhere they can find it and trying to get better than they were yesterday, trying to be better tomorrow than they were today. It’s really awesome.”