Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh has never been one to shy away from controversy since taking over the Wolverines in 2015.
This week was no different, as Harbaugh threw a little shade on former Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer.
“Urban Meyer’s had a winning record. Really phenomenal record everywhere he’s been,” Harbaugh said on The TK Show podcast on Thursday. “But also, controversy follows everywhere he’s been.”
Meyer retired last season following a scandal involving domestic violence allegations against a former Buckeyes assistant and how Meyer handled the situation.
Meyer and Harbaugh had no love lost when the two were facing off in one of college football’s fiercest rivalries over the last four seasons, but Harbaugh was also on the losing end of every matchup he had with Meyer and the Buckeyes, including last year’s 62-39 win that knocked the Wolverines out of contention for the College Football Playoff.
Harbaugh has heard the criticism that he could never beat Meyer and says fans have the right to complain about it.
“You welcome the accountability,” Harbaugh said. “All you can be judged on is your record — what your record is overall, what your record is in your conference, and what your record is in head-to-head matchups with other teams that you play. I think you’ll find that right now, Ohio State is the only team that has a better record than us, has a better conference record than us, has the better overall head-to-head matchup with us.”
Mental Health Issues
Harbaugh also drew criticism for his comments on mental health issues in regards to transfers that are trying to get a waiver on having to sit out a year.
Harbaugh said he supported players getting a one-time transfer exemption, but cautioned that some players use mental health issues as a cause for trying to get those exemptions.
Although he didn’t cite any specific players, former Michigan players James Hudson and Oliver Martin are requesting immediate-eligibility waivers at Cincinnati and Iowa, respectively. Hudson has cited mental health issues in requesting the waiver, saying he experienced those issues while at Michigan, but he says he was denied because he never raised those concerns while with the Wolverines.
Harbaugh said he cares about players’ mental health but worries that it has become a way for players to become immediately eligible.
“Down the road, I don’t see that helping them if that’s not a legitimate thing,” Harbaugh said. “But nobody would know. But what are you going to say? Ten years down the road, ‘I just had to say what I had to say’? You’re putting them in a position that’s unfair, not right. You’re saying it just to say it. That’s not something we should be promoting at the college level. Telling the truth matters, especially at a college.”
Harbaugh, speaking at the Big Ten’s annual media days in Chicago, said he brought up the mental health issue because he doesn’t think players should have to give a reason as to why they are transferring from a school.
“I care very deeply about mental health. I’m not saying everybody’s lying about that,” Harbaugh said. “Just saying, ‘OK, this is America. You started at this school, you didn’t like it, and for whatever the reason is, you’re freely allowed to transfer to any other school like any other human being would have a right to do.’ That’s really the bottom line.”