The Wolverine

January 2024

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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JANUARY 2024 ❱ THE WOLVERINE 31 BY CHRIS BALAS A reported five-year, $55 million contract extension for Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh is still in the works, per sources with direct knowl- edge, and was moving forward as of Dec. 7. Despite an ongoing NCAA investiga- tion and a Big Ten suspension of three games, Harbaugh remains the coach the administration wants to head the pro- gram given the NCAA's acknowledgment he had no direct knowledge of Connor Stalions' activities involving on-site scouting and sign stealing. W h i l e t h e re a re o t h e r p o te n t i a l obstacles to overcome, negotiations have continued. Michigan President Santa Ono continues to back Harbaugh publicly. "The coaches talked to me about that situation and have said he knows noth- ing about what happened, and I trust him," Ono said in early December. "He's a man of honor. Everyone who knows him knows that. It's an ongoing investi- gation. We'll see what happens. "But I want to say very, very clearly, and it's no secret to people, that I trust the guy. I think he's one of the great coaches out there in the NFL or in the NCAA, and the football team loves him, and his coaches love him. I think the greatest sign of a great coach is that the team wins whether or not he's on the sideline." Asked if he was confident Harbaugh would be the Michigan coach in 2024, Ono added, "I hope so. Like I've said, we have to wait and see what happens with all these investigations. [But] he is a great coach and means a lot to the institution." Per sources, some of the holdups have had to do with "guarantee" language. But they made "significant headway" Dec. 4, a source with knowledge told us. One of the issues they believe has been resolved is that if Harbaugh does sign the deal, he can't entertain NFL possibilities for at least a year, assuring he'll be the Michigan coach in 2024. That, obviously, is significant. A new contract remains a priority — but again, there is still an ongoing inves- tigation, so things can obviously change. But progress had been made heading into the second week of December. Harbaugh made it clear in October he was looking for a new deal. He was suspended for three games to start the year for alleged improper contact with recruits dating back to the 2020 COVID- shortened season — not for the infrac- tion itself, but for reportedly not being forthcoming with the NCAA — but still had the administration's support. He's in the second year of a current five-year deal signed in February 2022 that guar- anteed $7 million in annual pay and in- centives, with the opportunity for much more if the winning continued. His pay exceeded $10 million last year when he reached many of the goals. "Like anybody — and I've said it — you want to be somewhere you're wanted," Harbaugh said. "Where they like what you do and how you do it. Then your bosses tell you that, and that gets re- flected in a contract. Any of us, right? We want to be somewhere that likes how you do it and what you do. "That's kind of been a three-and- a-half-year thing. Eventually, it gets put into a contract. I can't say that any more clearly, and I'm definitely open to that. I think I've shown that through the years." Now, it appears the ball is in his court heading toward the holidays. ❱  MICHIGAN FOOTBALL Jim Harbaugh Contract Extension Still In The Works 2023 MICHIGAN SCHEDULE Date Opponent (TV) Result/Time (ET) Sept. 2 EAST CAROLINA W, 30-3 Sept. 9 UNLV W, 35-7 Sept. 16 BOWLING GREEN W, 31-6 Sept. 23 RUTGERS W, 31-7 Sept. 30 at Nebraska W, 45-7 Oct. 7 at Minnesota W, 52-10 Oct. 14 INDIANA W, 52-7 Oct. 21 at Michigan State W, 49-0 Oct. 28 BYE — Nov. 4 PURDUE W, 41-3 Nov. 11 at Penn State W, 24-15 Nov. 18 at Maryland W, 31-24 Nov. 25 OHIO STATE W, 30-24 Dec. 2 Iowa* W, 26-0 Jan. 1 Alabama^ (ESPN) 5 p.m. EST *Big Ten Championship, Indianapolis ^CFP Semifinal / Rose Bowl, Pasadena, Calif. Harbaugh, who is in the second year of a five-year deal signed in February 2022, is reported to be in negotiations for a new five-year, $55 million extension. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL

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