Harbaugh announced Monday night on the “Inside Michigan Football” radio show his plan to redirect any bonus money earned during the 2021 football season back to the Michigan athletic department to reimburse employees who took a pay cut during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under terms of his new deal, which is set to pay him a guaranteed $4 million in base salary and additional compensation, Harbaugh can earn $500,000 for Michigan winning the Big Ten’s East Division outright, another $1 million for winning the Big Ten championship, $500,000 for winning the College Football Playoff semifinals, and another $1 million for winning the CFP.
Harbaugh can also earn $50,000 for being named Big Ten coach of the year, $75,000 for being named national coach of the year and $150,000 if Michigan clears the NCAA APR threshold.
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The Wolverines’ head coach is in line for more than $3 million in bonus money as part of his new, restructured five-year contract agreed to back in January. But he won’t be seeing most of that bonus money anyway.
“Sarah and I were talking about it last night,” Harbaugh said. “We decided that any bonus money that I am to receive through this season will be redirected to reimburse U-M athletic department employees who have stayed while taking a voluntarily or mandatory pay reduction during the last 18 months during the pandemic.”
Michigan pulled off a stunning 42-27 upset win over Ohio State over the weekend, clinching the Big Ten East and launching the team into the Big Ten championship game against Iowa on Saturday (8 p.m., FOX). A win in Indianapolis and there’s a strong likelihood Harbaugh’s team will earn a berth to the four-team playoff.
“Whether it’s folks who work here in football, or at the ticket department, or baseball coaches, (men’s swimming and diving coach) Mike Bottom, there’s so many people that my wife has gotten very close to, kids have,” Harbaugh said. “(This is) really just our family contribution to those who have had some financial strain through the last 18 months.”
Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel reported having to lay off 21 employees and freezing 15 unfilled positions within the department last year due to budget constraints brought on by revenue loss during the pandemic. Senior-level administrators and coaches, like Harbaugh, were asked to take a 10 percent salary reduction, while those making between $100,000 and $150,000 took a 7.5 percent cut and those making between $50,000 and $100,000 took a 5 percent cut. More: Michigan’s stunning win reignites rivalry with Ohio State
Employees making under $50,000 per year did not lose any money. In March, Manuel said the athletic department faced an $80 million deficit for the 2021 fiscal year but vowed not to cut any sports.
The moves come a little more than a week after Michigan running back Blake Corum garnered national attention for spending a rainy Sunday afternoon distributing Thanksgiving meals to Ypsilanti communities, paid for through money Corum made leveraging his name, image and likeness (NIL). Harbaugh, asked about the gesture, said he was “blown away by it, really.”
“I know what kind of gesture that is, and it’s genuine, heartfelt,” Harbaugh said. “My second impression was, why wasn’t I doing something like that? I was just watching film all day.”