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NY Post
New York Post
6 Jan 2024

NextImg:Jim Harbaugh makes plea for major cuts to pay college players: ‘Robbing the same train’

Jim Harbaugh is getting ready for a national title game, but that hasn’t stopped him from giving his thoughts on the overall state of college football.

The Michigan coach, while speaking with reporters Saturday before Monday’s College Football Playoff national championship against Washington, Harbaugh said it’s time for players to be involved in a revenue-sharing plan.

Harbaugh, 60, advocated for 5-to-10 percent cuts off of coaches’ and administrators’ salaries and television deals to make the idea happen, ESPN’s Pete Thamel reported.

“There used to be a saying: Old coaches — my dad’s used it, my brother’s used it — like, hey, ‘We’re all robbing the same train here,” Harbaugh said, per ESPN. “Like coaches, administrators, media, television stations, conferences, NCAA. And the ones that are really robbing the train, the ones that could really get hurt are getting a very small piece. So that needs to change, too. That needs to change.

“It’s one thing for somebody to say, well, they’re getting NIL, but the billions that are being generated, they’re not getting much of, a very small percentage. They’re getting the same amount as I got in the ’80s. You’re getting a scholarship, room, board, books and tuition. So it’s like, come on, man, let’s do the right thing here.”

Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh talks to the media during media day before the College Football Playoff national championship game against the Washington Huskies at George R Brown Convention Center. USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

Harbaugh, who makes a reported $7.63 million base salary, said in November that he would take less money on his deal if it meant players would be getting compensated.

During his Saturday comments, Harbaugh pointed to how a whole conference — the Pac-12 — essentially entered the transfer portal this year, which has changed the landscape of college football.

That move, ironically enough, will put Michigan’s CFP opponent in the Big Ten next year.

While Harbaugh said he’s not the guy to devise the plan, he added there are people intelligent enough to make a revenue-sharing situation happen.

Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh hugs one of his players after a win over Alabama in the Rose Bowl. AP

“The real issue is there’s no voice for the players,” he said, according to ESPN.

Former Stanford player Sam Schwartzstein claimed on X that in 2008, Harbaugh, then the head coach of the Cardinal, started a meeting by pleading for the players to unionize, though the former offensive lineman added that part of that idea was that the coach wanted more practice hours.

As for Harbaugh’s team now, despite being embroiled in a sign-stealing scandal that led to staffer Connor Stalions stepping down and Harbaugh getting suspended three games, the Wolverines are now one win away from a national title.

J.J. McCarthy #9 and head coach Jim Harbaugh of the Michigan Wolverines celebrate after beating the Alabama Crimson Tide. Getty Images

Rumor and speculation have swirled this year that the Michigan coach could make a leap back to the NFL, and on Saturday, The Athletic’s Dianna Russini reported that Harbaugh is “a top candidate” of the Los Angeles Chargers.

But Harbaugh said he wasn’t focused on his future.

“I couldn’t be more happy to be here,” he said Saturday, per ESPN.