Michigan Collective Finds A Different Way To Entice Football Players Into Returning For 2023 Season

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We are certainly in a new era of college football.

Within this new era, large sums of money are consistently being raised to keep star players from leaving their current team’s early. This is the case for Michigan’s football team, with the ‘One More Year’ fund already paying off for Jim Harbaugh.

The main priority of this new fund is to persuade current stars from not leaving the team, enticing them to return for another playoff run in 2023. Whether this is a ‘pay for play’ type deal is up for argument, but schools are pulling no punches in their attempt to keep players from leaving. In this case, the Michigan collective found a way for fans to financially help the returning players.

Valiant Management Group released the following statement in regards to the ‘One More Year’ fund launch.

“The crowdfunding campaign designed to retain key Michigan football players starting with Blake CorumCornelius Johnson, Trevor Keegan, and Zak Zinter. By donating, fans have the chance to make a meaningful contribution to the Michigan Football team in pursuit of the 2023 National Championship by providing NIL opportunities. Help us show the players how much we appreciate them and want them in the Maize and Blue!”

Michigan's 'One More Year' Fund
Michigan’s ‘One More Year’ Fund

Campaign Is Paying Off For Michigan’s 2023 Roster

The campaign has raised over $105,000 as of today, with over one-thousand supporters. It should also be noted that donations over $5,000 are done through another route, which is outlined on the website. Just eleven days after launching, all of the players highlighted in the release have decided to return to Michigan for the 2023 season.

It looks as if the money is helping, considering it was a reason why Blake Corum decided to return. He rushed for 1,483 in 2022, with 18 touchdowns. Unfortunately, Corum suffered a knee injury late in the season, keeping him from playing a role in Michigan’s playoff game.

All four of the players highlighted in the promotion have announced their intentions of returning to Ann Arbor next season.

Could this be a new way for teams to persuade fringe NFL players to returning for another year? Sure, the crowdfunding helps, but this certainly isn’t the only money these players are going to see over the next year. This idea has been used by a few different teams, but could be a great way to use NIL to bolster a team’s chances to compete in the future.

There are many different ways players are cashing in on returning to school for another season, with some collectives paying a substantial amount of money to keep players around. If a school can offer a player money, in the ballpark of what they’d make if drafted after the second or third round of the NFL Draft, then maybe this idea will work in the future.

Jim Harbaugh Staying Put At Michigan For Another Season

The back and forth flirtation between Jim Harbaugh and the NFL has come to an end, for at least one more season. After statements from just about everyone, including Harbaugh, Michigan’s President Santa Ono announced on Monday that Harbaugh would not be leaving.

“I just got off the phone with Coach Harbaugh and Jim shared with me the great news that he is going to remain as the Head Coach of the Michigan Wolverines,” Ono’s statement read. “That is fantastic news that I have communicated to our Athletic Director Warde Manuel. Go Blue!”

Michigan's Jim Harbaugh statement
Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh statement on staying in Ann Arbor

To be honest, this is getting old, quick. It seems that Harbaugh has taken the Mike Gundy route by making every off-season about him. Whether it’s interviewing with NFL teams or putting out statements that he ‘expects’ to return, the schtick is up. I can only imagine how frustrated Michigan officials are by the never-ending soap opera that is the status of its head coach.

“I love the relationships that I have at Michigan – coaches, staff, families, administration, President Santa Ono and especially the players and their families,” Harbaugh said in his own statement.

It’s interesting that Harbaugh didn’t mention his athletic director by name, while the president was the one to release the first statement. But here we are, as another year of Harbaugh-NFL talks come to an end. Don’t be surprised if we are in the same spot after next season, though maybe Michigan will be looking for a new head coach for 2024 if the Wolverines fall short again.

Then again, Harbaugh will continue to pander to Michigan fans with these enticing quotes.

“My heart is at the University of Michigan. I once heard a wise man say, ‘Don’t try to out-happy, happy.’ Go blue!”

Written by Trey Wallace

Wallace started covering the SEC in 2012, as the conference landscape was beginning to change. Prior to his time in Knoxville, Wallace worked in Nashville for The Read Optional, where he first produced content that garnered national attention. His passion for sports is evident in his work and has led him to break some of college football’s biggest stories. His social media reach and natural podcast proficiency continue to make Wallace one of SEC’s most trusted sources.


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