ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Jim Harbaugh has had an eventful offseason, from interviewing with the Denver Broncos to talking with the NCAA about possible violations in Michigan’s football program and firing an assistant coach under investigation by police.
“Compare us to perfect, and we’re going to come up short in the major areas,” Harbaugh said Thursday in his first remarks to reporters since the season ended. “Compare us to any other program, I think you’re going to see that it doesn’t get any better.”
A year after saying the door was closed on a return to the NFL, the former San Francisco 49ers coach talked with the Broncos about their vacant coaching job that was later filled by Sean Payton.
Harbaugh said multiple coaches on his staff had conversations with NFL teams and chose to stay at the school.
“I’m one of them,” he said. “People do what they think is best for them professionally and personally.”
There was, though, one coaching change. Co-offensive coordinator Matt Weiss was fired in January after he failed to attend a meeting to discuss whether he had gained access to computer accounts belonging to other people, according to documents released by the school.
“I don’t really know anything and if I did, I don’t think I could comment on it,” Harbaugh said.
Shortly after the Wolverines lost 51-45 to TCU in the College Football Playoff semifinals, Michigan announced it received notice that the NCAA is looking into potential rules infractions in the football program.
The investigation involves impermissible texts and calls — including some by Harbaugh — to high school prospects during part of a pandemic-related dead period for contact with potential recruits. The NCAA also is looking at whether a member of Michigan’s off-field football staff violated rules by doing on-the-field coaching during practice.
Harbaugh told NCAA investigators in multiple meetings last month that he will not agree to an unethical conduct charge, according to a person familiar with the situation. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because details of the investigation have not been shared publicly.
Harbaugh told reporters he was unable to comment on the NCAA matter.
A few hours Harbaugh’s news conference to preview spring practice, the Ann Arbor police posted a video on Twitter that showed the coach helping an officer move a fallen tree out of a street during an ice storm the previous night.
“You’re a good man,” officer Howard Cooper said to Harbaugh.
“Feel free to spread the word on that,” Harbaugh said. “Don’t feel like you have to keep that to yourself.”