If nothing else, then Jim Harbaugh is always good for a sound bite. If you’ve listened to him for any length of time, you’ll know he’s an odd duck. I usually have no idea what he’s trying to get at, but this past week was different. Harbaugh made a few comments and people are rather pissed about them.
The first came in the midst of Big 10 media days, where Harbaugh appeared on a podcast for The Athletic. In his interview, Harbaugh brought up some interesting points against former rival Urban Meyer.
“Urban Meyer’s had a winning record, a really phenomenal record everywhere he’s been,” Harbaugh told Tim Kawakami of The TK Show, however it was the next part that got people a little rattled. “But also, controversy follows everywhere he’s been” Harbaugh proceeded to explain.
Now, he’s not wrong. Urban Meyer was a fantastic coach. He made the Utah Utes into a formidable team in ’03 and ’04. Then he went to Florida, where they dominated the SEC for several years. He also ran the Big 10 with Ohio St. Despite all this success, his controversies are well documented.
The only reason people are upset is that Harbaugh never beat Meyer, so they think it’s unwarranted to take a shot at him. Personally, I think that’s crazy. Nothing he said was out of line, he was simply speaking the truth.
The comments that really got people going were about transfers. Harbaugh questioned the legitimacy of players being granted waivers to play right away when they cite transferring for mental health reasons. Since it had the trigger word of mental health in it people got overly sensitive to it and missed his message entirely.
All Harbaugh was trying to point out was that if players may abuse a serious issue in order to gain immediate eligibility. There’s no real way the NCAA can prove or disprove a mental health case so they’ll almost always side on that of the player, even if it’s not true.
Again, I agree with what he’s trying to say. Players are going to abuse this loophole in order to go elsewhere to play right away. Now that they know the magic words, players are free to transfer whenever they want. All Harbaugh is trying to do is reel in the Pandora’ Box that was opened.