Speculation about Jim Harbaugh at Michigan has mushroomed. Neither party has disavowed it. Michigan AD David Brandon has uttered no magic words. He has maintained he will evaluate the program at season’s end, presumably after the bowl game. Some have argued for an expedited timetable, but patience may be the wisest plan.
Change is cheaper in 2011. On New Year’s Day, Rich Rodriguez’ buyout drops from $4 million to $2.5 million. Even for a moneybags program like Michigan, that alone is incentive enough to wait.
Perhaps, we should take David Brandon at his word. If he wants to take his time, assess all possible sources and make a sober, informed decision when smoke clears from the OSU loss, that’s for the best. A hasty choice three years ago may be the reason Michigan is revisiting it so soon. This is the most important decision Brandon will make as AD. Unless circumstances force the issue, take the time. Get it right.
Harbaugh may also need time. He could want to coach Stanford through the BCS bowl game. He also has a career-defining decision to make. Does he want to stay in college, come home to Michigan and be Bo Schembechler, or does he have NFL ambitions? He can’t do both. That’s not a decision you make over one phone call.
Even if both men come to the same conclusion, there are still contractual and philosophical issues to work out. Michigan probably would need a prohibitive buyout or a clause to ward off NFL suitors. The negotiations could be tricky.
Everyone affiliated with Michigan is frustrated. Everyone, including myself, has an opinion on what must be done. However, Rich Rodriguez either did the best job he possibly could have to still be fired or the worst job possible to still be employed and David Brandon’s opinion is the only one that matters. The only certainty we have is that he will take his time.
[Photos via Getty]