Worth the 5 Million or Not? Michigan's Jim Harbaugh Money Talk
In the world of college football, one of the most recognizable teams is the Michigan Wolverines. The Wolverines lead college football in all-time wins and their famous blue helmets, with yellow wings rank as one of the most popular helmets in all of sports.
Michigan has a tradition of winning like few others have in college football, but as of late that has not been the case. The Wolverines have not been serious national title contenders since being ranked preseason top five in 2007. They would lose their first game of that '07 season to Appalachian State in arguably the biggest upset in the history of college football.
The Wolverines then would struggle through the Rich Rodriguez era, which led to the most recent era with Brady Hoke as Head Coach of Michigan. Hoke was fired following the 2014 season after a season full of losing, controversy involving player safety and playing to an half empty stadium at times.
This leads us to the current state of Michigan football and the hiring of their new head coach Jim Harbaugh. Harbaugh single handily turned a Stanford program that was a dumpster fire into a team contending for national titles and playing in BCS Bowl games. The Cardinal of Stanford was one of the worst programs in all of college football and then Harbaugh arrived and lured one of the greatest recruits ever to Stanford in Andrew Luck.
Harbaugh then would take his talents to the San Francisco 49ers of the NFL and like with the Stanford Cardinal, the 49ers were a dumpster fire going nowhere fast. Harbaugh yet again turned the 49ers into a Super Bowl power and were within yards of winning Super Bowl 47 against the Baltimore Ravens.
Harbaugh is yet again at the sight of another dumpster fire, this time known as the Michigan Wolverines. He will be expected to turn the Wolverines back into a national power competing for national titles and if history is any indication, they will be doing so sooner rather than later.
Harbaugh was recently asked by a reporter if he was worth the roughly five million a year he will be making at Michigan and in an honest of an answer you will find a coach say, he said “honestly no.”
Harbaugh mentioned how he wouldn’t return the money in a joking fashion because he is into making a buck just as much as the next guy, but mentioned how he is paid very well for what amount of work he does. His honesty is a rare and nice sight to behold, but is he really worth the five million to coach football?
Well, to the average person we look at head coaches of any sport and think none of these guys deserve millions of dollars for coaching a game. Let’s think about this in a different way than just a game however.
We have to look at these sports teams and organizations as a business rather than just a sports team and the coach is like the CEO of the company or business. These head coaches are not only the “head football coach,” but also the head representative of these football teams that honestly serve as a multi-million dollar business.
So, in regards to Harbaugh being worth five million a season, the honest answer is he is arguably worth even more when we look at this from a business standpoint. Harbaugh’s presence alone will bring Michigan’s football program millions of dollars based on merchandise sold, tickets sold and alumni donations for a rejuvenated program.
If Harbaugh’s success takes Michigan back to the top of college football’s elite he will bring Michigan anywhere from 20 to 30 million more dollars a year thanks to things like the new College Football Playoff and television revenue. Harbaugh’s five million a year in comparison to how much wealth he could possibly bring Michigan is pocket change if you think about it.
Again, when asking this question you have to think about this in terms of these college football programs being a business rather than just looking at it at face value of him just coaching a game known as football. It is an intriguing question to think about and discuss, but in today’s world of sports, especially college athletics, money is the motive and the bigger name the head coach, the greater the dollar.