Jim Harbaugh Denies Michigan Blocked James Hudson's Transfer Request

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorAugust 14, 2019

CHICAGO, IL - JUL 19: Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh is seen at Big Ten football media days on July 19, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Michael Hickey/Getty Images

University of Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh told reporters that the school did not block a waiver request from offensive tackle James Hudson to transfer to Cincinnati.

"Michigan did not block the waiver," Harbaugh said, per Aaron McMann of MLive. The NCAA denied Hudson's request for an immediate transfer, so Hudson cannot play until 2020.

The comments were in response to a story from The Athletic's Justin Williams where Cincinnati head coach Luke Fickell said Michigan "didn't work to help [Hudson] out."

"Here's what I believe in the whole waiver process: the number one, most important thing, and all the power, comes from the school that a kid is leaving. No matter what.

"(Michigan) didn't back the waiver. They can say what they want to say, but the only thing they said that was positive was that if the NCAA chooses to make (Hudson) eligible, then they would accept it—that they didn't have an angle. They are just trying to cover their ass. And I'm really, completely disappointed in it.

"They can say they didn't undermine it, but they didn't work to help the kid out."

Harbaugh responded, saying that Fickell may be mistaken about the waiver process.

"Unless I'm reading them wrong or mistaken, I believe he's under the impression that these waivers are decided coach-to-coach in some kind of deal fashion. That is not the understanding I'm under. I'm under the understanding that the NCAA decides these waivers.

"Unless he has something that he has and can bring forth and share, enlighten us and the entire football world, I would really like to know what that is."

McMann provided a response to that quote.

"While Harbaugh is technically right, the process for a student-athlete obtaining a waiver request for immediate eligibility is much more nuanced. Typically, the compliance department for the new school (in this case, Cincinnati) goes to the previous school to obtain information.

"That previous school, in this case Michigan, has the opportunity to respond and give input. At the time of his transfer, Harbaugh was under the impression it was over a lack of playing time. Hudson never mentioned suffering from depression during his brief time at Michigan, a revelation that he revealed in May on social media."

Hudson was rated as a 4-star defensive tackle prospect coming out of Central Catholic High School in Toledo, Ohio, per 247Sports. The 6'5", 305-pound lineman did not play his freshman season before switching to the offensive side of the ball last year.

He played in three games in 2018 before Nick Baumgardner of The Athletic reported that Hudson was seeking a transfer.

The Wolverine coach spoke further on Fickell and even relayed details from a phone conversation via his perspective.

"If (Fickell) is questioning what my personal beliefs are...it's (believing in) the truth," Harbaugh said. "My personal beliefs on this are that a football player should have the right they've never had ... (to transfer once without having to sit out)."

Nick Baumgardner @nickbaumgardner

Harbaugh said Fickell called him in March, asked about Hudson’s position switch. Harbaugh says he told him they thought he fit well on the OL. Said Fickell tried to ‘coach’ him into explaining it differently. Harbaugh said he wasn’t going to do that, was going to tell the truth.

Hudson notably re-tweeted a response from Chad Brandel of Bearcat Journal to the "truth" comments:

Chad Brendel @ChadBrendel

Hard to claim you believe in the truth when you refuse to tell the truth there Jim. Writing the letter Michigan did to slander the character of @__BallisLife2 and then hiding behind the shield of FERPA is hypocrisy at its finest. https://t.co/bWRiG2RjFe

The lineman's first eligible game will be Sept. 5, 2020, against Austin Peay.