Bobby Carpenter: Harbaugh's Got His Money, Now It's Time For OSU's Ryan Day To Get His

Jim Harbaugh finally signed his extension, locking him up as the head football coach of the Michigan Wolverines through 2026. The new deal comes with a considerable pay raise. His 2022 salary will start at $7.05 million and climb to $7.63 million by the final year for a total payout of over $36 million over five years.

That’s a considerable and well earned pay raise for the Michigan man who led the team to their best season in 20 years. It basically erased the considerable pay cut Harbaugh took following the 2020 season and brought him back up to par.

Michigan AD Warde Manual was happy the deal was finalized:

"Jim has done a great job coaching and developing the young men in our football program. Last season, Jim, along with the staff and players, delivered a memorable season that will remain with all of us for a long time. As Coach said, this is just the beginning. Academically, our program has been one of the best in the Big Ten and among the leaders across the country. We have graduated our players and they have been young men of great character who have done the right things. I have the utmost confidence in the direction of the program under Jim's leadership."

Jim Harbaugh has restored Michigan to national relevance, but it took him a while to “realize” Michigan was the place for him. Though the current contract offer had already been extended to him, Harbaugh chose to pursue NFL vacancies, leaving his alma mater sitting at the table alone for weeks. After the NFL opportunities ran dry, Jim came walking back and was greeted with open arms.

Apparently, Harbaugh was happy to reciprocate. He released a statement following the announcement:

"I love Michigan Football, the University of Michigan and the Ann Arbor community. My family and I are excited to continue leading this football program, and we are thankful for the support that our athletic department and university administration have demonstrated toward the team."

The extension currently makes Harbaugh the second-highest paid coach in the Big Ten. Mel Tucker of Michigan State leads the way with a 10-year, $95 million ($9.5 average) contract. Harbaugh follows him with $7.34 million per season. Ohio State’s Ryan Day, who earned $6.6 million in 2021 and will earn $7.5 million in 2022, is third. 

With new contracts for Tucker, Harbaugh, and even James Franklin of Penn State, when will Ohio State step up and pay their coach for his success relative to his contemporaries? Day would have the option of NFL jobs if he chooses to pursue them, so it seems like Ohio State might be playing with fire by underpaying their stellar young coach.

Ryan Day has won two Big Ten Titles and has two CFP appearances in his three seasons at Ohio State. He also won the Rose Bowl this past season, which is still considered a “down” year by Buckeye standards. 

Earlier this week, OSU AD Gene Smith gave the State of the State for the OSU Athletic Department:

“I don’t feel an urgency, no. I feel like we need to do it the right way with he and his family and with the university president and board of trustees, and we'll get to that. But historically, you guys have watched, I have always tried to make sure that we compensate consistent with expectations and performance. But I don’t feel a sense of urgency.” 

Gene Smith has handled his post appropriately during his tenure as athletic director, but he needs a greater sense of urgency here. The head coach at Ohio State shouldn’t have to ask for a new contract to be compensated accordingly, and the last thing you want is him looking toward the NFL.

Because, unlike Jim Harbaugh, any interest Ryan Day might have in the NFL would be reciprocated.