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Michigan's Jim Harbaugh Questions Players Citing Mental Health for Transfers

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJuly 20, 2019

Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh listens to a question during the Big Ten Conference NCAA college football media days Friday, July 19, 2019, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

Michigan Wolverines head football coach Jim Harbaugh said Friday he's unsure whether mental health should be used as a reason to grant NCAA transfer waivers since it could give players incentive to provide false information about a serious issue.

Harbaugh said on ESPNU Radio (via ESPN's Adam Rittenberg) it creates a difficult dynamic because the NCAA must take players' statements on the matter at face value.

"Down the road, I don't see that helping them if that's not a legitimate thing," he 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 tweeted a statement Saturday about his previous comments:

Coach Harbaugh @CoachJim4UM

https://t.co/ycHyRQZOuK

Rittenberg noted former Michigan offensive tackle James Hudson is fighting for immediate eligibility after transferring to the Cincinnati Bearcats. He explained in a May post on Twitter his waiver was denied because he didn't discuss his mental-health concerns with the U-M administration:

James Hudson III ™ @__BallisLife2

#Bearcats I need your support!! 🙏🏾🙏🏾🔴⚫️ @GoBearcatsFB https://t.co/iN033gBk8P

Hudson wrote "You cannot be serious" in response to his former coach's remarks Friday, and his mother, Glenda Hudson, spoke with Jordan Strack of WTOL about the situation:

Jordan Strack @JordanStrack

Glenda Hudson was upset when she heard Jim Harbaugh's comments on mental health today. Her son, James, left Michigan and claims the NCAA is blocking his immediate eligibility at Cincinnati because he never reported issues at Michigan. For the first time, she's speaking out: https://t.co/9nTjTbs8wP

Harbaugh didn't discuss any specific cases and said he wasn't involved in any ongoing waiver cases of players who've left the Michigan program, per Rittenberg.

The Wolverines coach added he wasn't suggesting every player is lying about the issue and believes they should be allowed to transfer without providing a public reason.

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