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Report: Jim Harbaugh Unlikely to Get New Michigan Contract Before NCAA Probe Is Over

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 12, 2023

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 31: Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh looks on in action during a the Vrbo Fiesta Bow game between the Texas Christian Horned Frogs and the Michigan Wolverines on December 31st, 2022, at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, AZ.  (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Even as Jim Harbaugh openly seeks an NFL job, Michigan is reportedly not going to pay up to retain its football coach.

"Michigan is unlikely to issue him a new contract until there's some clarity in the current NCAA case, according to sources," Pete Thamel of ESPN reported.

The Wolverines football program is under NCAA investigation, with Harbaugh specifically accused of a Level I violation for failing to cooperate with investigators, per Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports. It could lead to recruiting restrictions or even a suspension.

In the meantime, Harbaugh interviewed for the Denver Broncos head coaching vacancy on Monday, per Tom Pelissero of NFL Network.

According to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler, Harbaugh would be the "lead candidate" for the Broncos if Sean Payton turns it down.

Harbaugh also reportedly spoke to Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper about their opening, according to The Athletic, while the former San Francisco 49ers head coach could also be an option for the Indianapolis Colts after spending four years with the team as a quarterback.

Though the 59-year-old did say he expected to remain at Michigan in a statement this month, he also added that "no one knows what the future holds."

In some cases, the possibility of leaving for another position would be enough to leverage a new contract in the current spot.

Harbaugh's $7.05 million salary in 2022 ranked 12th among college football coaches, nearly $2.5 million behind Big Ten rivals Ryan Day (Ohio State) and Mel Tucker (Michigan State). Michigan cut Harbaugh's salary after the shortened 2020 season, but the Wolverines have exceeded expectations the past two years with back-to-back Big Ten titles and two trips to the College Football Playoff.

The uncertainty with the NCAA investigation is still enough to prevent Michigan from making a renewed commitment to the coach.

It could lead to a split between the two sides after Harbaugh spent the past eight years at his alma mater.