Sunday, May 13, 2007

Jim Harbaugh's "controversial" comments about his alma mater

Stanford Head Coach Jim Harbaugh made news recently with comments about Michigan accepting borderline students and steering them to easier courses. Reaction was swift around the Michigan blogosphere with posts from MGoBlog, The M Zone, Jim Harbaugh Scramble, MVictors.Com, iBlog for Cookies, and Michigan Against the World. The Ann Arbor News' Jim Carty has now followed up the story with a phone interview with Harbaugh during which Harbaugh made more incendiary comments. One of the more interesting comments in the article was when Harbaugh said he was told as a freshman that he should not be a history major because it takes too much time and he subsequently decided to switch majors. It is interesting to note that Harbaugh's freshman year was 1982 which means he was a teammate of two-time Academic All-America Stefan Humphries. Humphries was Academic All-America in 1982 & 1983 while also making All-America on the field in 1983. Humphries went on to become a doctor after a five-year NFL career. The point being that if Mr. Harbaugh wanted to stay a history major, I think he could have. Stefan Humphries had the discipline to excel both on and off the field. The problem was not with the school. Mr. Harbaugh should look at himself if he does not like the choices he made. Denigrating Michigan's academics sounds like a cheap shot. The education was there for the taking. Just ask his teammate Dr. Humphries. On the other hand, I do not want to be too hard on Coach Harbaugh as he has been "True Blue" his entire life. He even served as a ball boy during the Coach Schembechler years. In light of the fact that he has contributed so much to Michigan Football over the years and he has been so dedicated to the program, he deserves to be cut some slack regarding his comments. Go Blue!

*Note: Photo of Jim Harbaugh (4) from 10/25/86 Homecoming game against Indiana. Picture by Brad Mills who was a U-M student photographer.

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At 3:22 PM, Anonymous Howard Lindsey said...

Just read the response to Harbaugh article and you took words out of my mouth. I think UM like most big time sports programs must try to balance academics with athletics. I don't know if UM's graduation rate for the major revenue sports is any lower than the national average. I would like to think that M should be held to a 'higher standard' but I know it may not be possible at all times. Yet, I agree with the writer who noted the success of Stephan Humphries. I he could major in pre-med, I don't see why Harbaugh couldn't have majored in History. Bottom line in this debate will be 3-4 years from now when we look at Harbaugh's record at Stanford.

Dr. Howard Lindsey
Ph.D, Class of 1993
History Major

At 6:46 PM, Anonymous Phil Hersey, BSEE' said...

I had several friends on the O line in 1980. One other O line starter was an engineering major and I don't remember the whole story but I think when he quit the team he wrote under the sign "Those who stay will be champions" , "those who leave will be doctors, and lawyers,and other important people". I was an engineering major and I think it would be close to impossible to play football and also survive a difficult major. Phil Hersey

At 2:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

People may not want to believe it, but he is accurate in his statement about the ability to pursue a rigorous academic program and play a major sport. There were a number of athletes who were good students, but had to choose between their academic goals and maintaining their football scholarships. Players like Dr. Humphries were more the exception than the rule during the Schembeckler era.


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