The Michigan head coach’s first comments on the topic first circulated at 2022 Big Ten Media Days. He broached the topic again earlier this season.
Now preparing for his third consecutive Big Ten title game and done serving his three-game suspension for a sign-stealing scandal, Harbaugh told reporters on a conference call Sunday night that he would be willing to take less money for his players to have a share.
As the coaching carousel continues to spin, more and more dollars are being designated to buyouts. Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher is owed a $77.6 million payout. Not even December, quick math is that seven schools owe buyouts of $122 million this offseason excluding mitigation, surpassing the record of $94 million in 2021, according to Yahoo’s Ross Dellenger.
That number will only grow. TV contracts are soaring, too, with the College Football Playoff expanding to 12 starting next season.
“As I’ve said, there’s a lot of people profiting,” Jim Harbaugh said Sunday night. “Coaches are profiting millions, and I’ve had people tell me, ‘Don’t say anything about that, that’ll take away money for the coaches.’ What I’ve been able to do is donate money back to the athletic department, which I did in 2021. But yeah, I would, for the players to be to be compensated. I’m using my voice and I would take less money for the players to have a share.”
Contract dollars could go to NIL
Some schools like Baylor and Arkansas are sticking with head coaches this season while making a significant NIL commitment. Dollars from contracts that are raised by donors could be siphoned to NIL collectives.
The fight over employee status is also coming. The National Labor Relations Board’s Los Angeles is moving forward against the NCAA, Pac-12 Conference and USC. The plaintiffs in Johnson v. NCAA, former Villanova football player Trey Johnson and other Division I athletes, are asking that athletes be deemed employees subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Revenue sharing could be inching closer. Many in the college sports landscape believe athletes earning a share of TV revenue is inevitable.
Jim Harbaugh’s comments only add validation.