Question for the board: NCAA Politics and Jim Harbaugh

Submitted by DCAlum on January 10th, 2016 at 1:26 PM

On a slowish Sunday, I thought the board might be interested in something I've thought a bit about: NCAA politics and Jim Harbaugh.


Last summer, Harbaugh rampaged through SEC country with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind, snapping up a bunch of recruits and having a general (shirtless) great time. The SEC (and probably other conferences) weren't terribly happy with this, and lobbied the NCAA to change some of the rules. Now, Harbaugh is doing spring break in Florida, which will be seen as another slight by the SEC. Next summer will likely be more of the same.


My question is this: what do you think the likelihood is that this kind of activity will be limited by the NCAA in the future? Is Harbaugh going to have to stay ahead of the NCAA regulation curve, or do you think we'll be able to just keep doing the same kind of stuff? Does the B1G support Harbaugh's activities in official NCAA contexts, or does he piss the rest of the coaches off enough that they're against it too?


I don't really know anything about the way the NCAA promulgates new rules, but it seems to me that Harbaugh's personality wouldn't make him too many friends among the people with power in that scenario. However, I think he'll keep killing it on the recruiting trail regardless of what roadblocks the NCAA puts in his way.



January 10th, 2016 at 1:30 PM ^

At the very least he will continue to keep NCAA on their toes. Everything the NCAA does will be reactionary and depend on the amount of complaining schools do. They will have a hard time controlling the practice situation because it will reach into other sports such as baseball.

Sent from MGoBlog HD for iPhone & iPad

Football Heaven

January 10th, 2016 at 1:32 PM ^

Harbaugh is and will be one step ahead of the NCAA's on this.  They probably will create a new set of rules to limit or eliminate the summer camps as Harbaugh ran them.  He is on a quest to make Michigan great and to be nationally recognized again...the spring practice down in Florida is an example of this.  This locomotive has a full head of steam and there is no stopping it.


January 10th, 2016 at 2:14 PM ^

It is possible that the NCAA might have another problem if they ban summer camps, and that is facing an antitrust action where the NCAA hasn't fared terribly well.  Jack Swarbrick, Notre Dame's AD. made this point last summer.…

The SEC and ACC want a national rule preventing college football coaches from staging satellite camps far off campus. Nick Saban is complaining that satellite camps are “ridiculous.” NCAA president Mark Emmert says the issue will be at the top of the list for the NCAA's Football Oversight Committee.

Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick offers some cautionary advice to the NCAA: Good luck defending yourself against another antitrust lawsuit.

“The NCAA does not have a very good track record of limiting, without losing an antitrust lawsuit, economic opportunities for coaches,” Swarbrick said Tuesday at the College Football Playoff meetings. “So they should be treading very lightly. The perception is these are school opportunities. A lot of these are coach opportunities purely. Imagine a rule that said, as was introduced years ago, coaches couldn't do national televised advertising because it created a recruiting advantage. … I wouldn't want to defend those lawsuits.”



January 10th, 2016 at 2:21 PM ^

Of course they are reactive. The NCAA is every member school. If the majority of schools want something changed. It gets changed. The NCAA's job is to make sure each school polices it self, according to the rules the schools put on amateur athletics. If a school is breaking those rules then the NCAA is "supposed" to react.

/most of this post is sarcastic in nature


January 10th, 2016 at 1:48 PM ^

I would think that now that we are in the era of the Power 5 being able to enact their own legislation on issues such as this, the SEC would have to present a proposal and essentially lobby other schools / conferences to get the support to stop Harbaugh from doing such things at the NCAA level. As it is, I believe it is a conference rule which prevents the SEC from doing such things, a rule the Big Ten doesn't have - and I don't see the Big Ten as being moved to change that. Until the opponents of satellite camps and the like can get sufficient support, I assume Harbaugh's free and clear to continue. 

Zone Left

January 10th, 2016 at 11:59 PM ^

There's a keeping up with the Joneses factor here, except most coaches don't want to keep up.

Summer is coaches chance to work normal weeks, see their kids, etc. Most just don't want to go to satellite camps, much less organize them.

Harbaugh is the type of guy who is hyper competitive and loves this stuff, so he'll always have some edge there.


January 11th, 2016 at 9:42 AM ^

is going to do just that. They have whined about these camps all year. Wonder what the bowl season would look like if the games were played in cold-weather environment. Would the SEC fare as well? I would like to see that one time in my life, where the SEC played in a bowl game in which it wasn't basically a home game.

SD Larry

January 10th, 2016 at 2:01 PM ^

I am no NCAA expert, but personally do not believe one week of spring football practice in Florida over spring break will be a problem for the NCAA.    At least our players will not be missing class.  By way of one contrast, these days men's college golf teams travel all across the country to play in collegiate golf tournaments from September until NCAA finals in June. In comparison, our football team does not travel that much or often ( 4 - 6 road games and a bowl game).


January 10th, 2016 at 1:58 PM ^

I don't see a problem with it. I mean if you can take a basketball team thousands of miles away from home/their next game to watch a football game and that is seen as ok by the NCAA, I don't see how this would be a problem.

In the past the seniors went out to San Diego and had a seminar/camp with the navy seals and that was ok. So why wouldn't a week of spring ball be allowed in a different location?

Sent from MGoBlog HD for iPhone & iPad


January 10th, 2016 at 2:17 PM ^

I like that Harbaugh is testing the boundaries. we saw it with that "intent to deceive" penalty ad well. Harbaugh said after the fact that they had inquired to the conference (or NCAA, I forget) what the rule is. this is a guy who just wants to win, and he will find every way to win while staying within the rules. if it forces rule changes along the way, so be it.

I love this attitude as long as we don't break any existing rules. I don't care how many coaches it pissed off. Harbaugh is shaking up the establishment and I support it.


January 10th, 2016 at 2:22 PM ^

I think a more likely outcome is that after another year grousing about the evils of satellite camps, the SEC will eliminate their rule against them. Then Saban and company can head to the chilly north country.
The word of the day on my calendar was "grousing."


January 10th, 2016 at 9:56 PM ^

My "word of the day" calendar contains obsolete insults, so it's amusing that the one I came on today was "shooler", which apparently used to mean a man who intruded upon his neighbors.  In its original usage, the intruder was angling for a dinner invitation, but I'm sure it could be applied to someone who is fishing for recruits.  Shoolerbaugh!


January 10th, 2016 at 3:56 PM ^

Harbaugh is taking a very similar approach to Saban, except above board and transparent. The approach is to maximize every advantage as possible within the rules. Both coaches had stints in the pros before coming back to college, and have a similar mentality of how they are going to attack the job the second time around.

Sent from MGoBlog HD for iPhone & iPad


January 10th, 2016 at 4:31 PM ^

The NCAA is a joke.  They could've eased up on a lot of rules to adapt to the times, but instead they have tried to maintain their status by any means and it will probably end up blowing up in their face eventually.