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Jim Harbaugh released a statement through the University of Michigan football program on Thursday afternoon. It was very definitive statement— except for one word that completely undermines any sort of absolute nature to what was said.
In addition, according to The Athletic’s Nicole Auerbach, the statement comes with notable timing. Auerbach reports that “the Michigan football program has been under NCAA investigation” for what sources told her are “relatively minor infractions” and “the program’s response.”
She added that the Wolverines expect to receive a Notice of Allegations by Friday.
Needless to say, there is a lot going on in Ann Arbor.
Jim Harbaugh doubled down.
Harbaugh, who finished his eighth year as head coach of Michigan with a gut-wrenching loss to TCU in the Peach Bowl, was named the Big Ten Coach of the Year in 2022. He was the AP College Football Coach of the Year in 2021.
As a result of his recent success at Michigan, Harbaugh has generated a lot of interest in recent days and weeks for a potential move back to the National Football League. Understandably so.
The Broncos, Panthers and Colts have job openings. Others may open up at the end of the season.
And as those organizations continue to seek their next head coach, Harbaugh could make a lot of sense. He has already coached on the NFL level and reached the Super Bowl, he has silenced any doubt about a “drop off” with consecutive College Football Playoff appearances, and he is only 59 years old— which is relatively young.
However, while NFL teams continue to kick the tires, Harbaugh made it abundantly clear that he doesn’t plan on going anywhere. He said the same thing back in December and doubled down on those comments on Thursday.
Here is Harbaugh’s statement in full:
Harbaugh even closed out his statement with a quote from Bo Schembechler alluding to the fact that if he is to stay at Michigan, he will win the College Football Playoff eventually. It was everything that a statement should be.
Except for one word— “expect.”
It was the exact same word that Harbaugh used back in December, so his statement on Thursday didn’t really say much. It was more of the same.
Timing and wording makes Harbaugh’s statement suspect.
First and foremost, what does “expect” really mean?
Often times, expectations are not met.”Expects that he will” is very different than “he will.”
As much as the statement was intended to silence a lot of the chatter, it did not. It wasn’t definitive. It was open-ended.
And — while the joint release came in response to increased murmurs about Harbaugh’s potential move to the NFL, timing of the statement is also notable. Auerbach says that an N.O.A. will reach the program sooner than later in regard to an ongoing NCAA investigation.
Michigan dropped Harbaugh’s statement on what is thought to be the day prior. Notice of Allegations eve, if you will.
It feels a lot like the Wolverines are saying “hey look over here!” while things may not be all that they appear behind closed doors. Stay tuned.