Jim Harbaugh’s Views On NIL Are Transformational When Michigan Stands To Have Someone Else Pay For The Transaction
"Our philosophy is that coming to the University of Michigan is going to be a transformational experience rather than a transactional experience."
That's what Jim Harbaugh has said on several occasions in recent weeks about U-M and its approach to Name, Image, and Likeness.
But it turns out the only thing that's transformational is Harbaugh's philosophy on NIL when someone else foots the bill for the transaction.
Harbaugh was asked at Big Ten Media Days on Tuesday about recent efforts by some football players to create a revenue-sharing deal with the Big Ten. He actually offered an interesting idea that would blend revenue sharing with NIL.
"The Big Ten even, they use [players'] name, image and likeness on the TV broadcasts, they're the ones signing the mega TV deals and a new one is coming in 2024," Harbaugh said. "Why can't that be a NIL deal right from the Big Ten? That's who's negotiating the TV deals and that's where the big money is."
The Big Ten is currently negotiating a new media partnership deal. The current version expires in 2023, and it's worth a reported $440 million a year. Many expect the Big Ten's new deal to pay it more than $1 billion annually.
Harbaugh's suggestion to share some revenue with players via NIL deals may prove to be a good one, but we can say with certainty that this idea is a hypocritical move for him.
At every opportunity this offseason, Harbaugh has shrugged off criticisms that Michigan should better leverage NIL the way his contemporaries across college football — including those in Columbus and East Lansing — have. His flippant responses have been almost automatic, both in message and in arrogance. Michigan is above that, is what Harbaugh has said, in an incredibly on-brand display of Michigan Man hubris.
It turns out Michigan is only above that until it doesn't have to hustle for the money to participate. Now that is The Michigan Difference®.