A national champion will be crowned on Monday, but not all eyes in the college football world were on the upcoming Alabama versus Ohio State matchup on Friday.
Michigan and Jim Harbaugh made national news as the head coach signed a new five-year deal that runs through the 2025 season.
Under the new contract, Harbaugh, who made slightly over $8 million in 2020, is taking a significant cut in base salary. He will earn a base salary of $4 million in 2021, which will increase to $4.426 million in 2025.
Harbaugh now goes from the highest-paid head coach in the Big Ten to eighth, according to a 2020 survey from USA Today of college football coaching salaries.
But the new deal also is laced with incentives, including $1 million each for winning the Big Ten championship game and College Football Playoff. Additionally, Harbaugh is entitled to a $500,000 bonus if Michigan wins the Big Ten East division outright and a $500,000 bonus if it reaches the CFP semifinals.
The news was met with mixed reactions across the country. Here are some notable headlines and reactions to Harbaugh remaining in Ann Arbor.
ESPN College GameDay analyst David Pollock on College Football Live: “They did it to hold recruiting together, to hold the thing together,” Pollack said. “It’s a contract that’s not going to have a large buyout, meaning if they want to move on from Jim Harbaugh in the near future, they can do that. Harbaugh, it’s been interesting. Because recruiting has been so up with him in his tenure. It started off so good. Then it looked so bad this past year. Something has to change with this Harbaugh regime. Obviously firing his DC … made changes.
“This doesn’t mean Harbaugh is going to be the coach for the next five years. This means that they’re locking him up for recruiting purposes and we’ll see how it goes next year.”
ESPN analyst Michael Wilbon on Pardon The Interruption: “For people who are shocked that Harbaugh would want to come back, why isn’t he looking for an NFL job? One, there may not be as many NFL teams out there creating a market for him that he would like. But most importantly, Harbaugh wants to get this done. This is his alma mater. He wants to win at Michigan. He wants to beat The Ohio State University and he wants to be in that playoff. That’s truly why Jim Harbuagh came there. This is not like some plum job and it would be sort of bad if he had to leave it. No, this was an elite college job for him. This gives him that chance. Let me just say this, having some Big Ten sources and people that I’m close to and some that went to Michigan, not all of them are going to be happy about it initially. The only thing that’s going to make him happy is if he does those two things.”
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