Since the NCAA swiftly banned ‘satellite camps’ for FBS programs last week, it’s been a case of all quiet on the Midwestern front for Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh.
When scanning the local papers in Michigan (Detroit, Ann Arbor), there’s nothing new to report on the Harbaugh end.
When perusing the MGoBlue.com site, there currently isn’t a single thumbnail image of Harbaugh on the front page, let alone stories detailing the implications of outlawing satellite camps.
And when checking out the coach’s popular Twitter handle (@CoachJim4UM — 405,000 followers), only two posts have been Tweeted in the past eight days (public service message).
With this form of radio silence, Harbaugh might be luring SEC coaches and fans into a false sense of serenity, as if the Michigan leader has somehow been humbled by a satellite-camp innovation that was likely planned as a one-and-done mission for the Wolverines.
In other words, do you think Harbaugh truly believed satellite camps would be permissible for multiple years, after calling so much attention to it (thus angering the masses in the South)?
Do you think he’s even disappointed with the ruling, knowing that other Big Ten head coaches (Urban Meyer, Mark Dantonio, James Franklin, etc.) missed their window to organize copycat camps?
Look at Harbaugh’s football experiences following his playing days with Michigan (mid-1980s) and his stint with the Chicago Bears (1987-93). Since 1994, Harbaugh — as a player or coach — hasn’t spent more than four seasons with a particular franchise or college program (excluding the unpaid internship working under his father, Jack, at Western Kentucky from 1994-2001).
In boxing terms, Harbaugh comports himself with a stick-and-move flair. In terms of promoting the ‘Michigan’ brand and stretching the interpretative boundaries of the NCAA rule book, he has likely been plotting his next three or four moves (beyond satellite camps and recruiting ‘sleepovers’) for some time.
As such, there are still numerous ways for the Michigan family to rankle SEC coaches, in the months leading up to National Signing Day 2017. Clever stunts like:
1) Convince the guy who brings a Washington State Cougars flag to every campus episode of ESPN’s College Gameday … to add a second pole carrying the Michigan flag.
2) Purchase a house in the neighborhood of every SEC head coach, and garishly paint it maize-and-blue.
3) Mobilize 56 maize-and-blue-clad Girl Scouts (along with TV-camera crews) to the 14 SEC campuses (four troops per school), with the intent of selling the famed Girl Scout Cookies at prominent locations.
4) Encourage Michigan students to occupy the audiences for mid-week SEC coaching shows, which are typically held at popular restaurants or bars near campus.
5) During the summer, throw the ceremonial first pitch at every Southern League stadium (Double-A baseball), covering southern haunts like Jacksonville, Fla., Birmingham, Ala, Knoxville, Tenn., Biloxi, Miss., Mobile, Ala., Pensacola, Fla., and Chattanooga, Tenn.
6) Tour the South with celebrity lookalikes of the 14 SEC head coaches … similar to the 1993 movie hit, Dave (starring Kevin Kline). Which begs the question: What’s the per-hour rate for the country’s best doppelgangers for Alabama’s Nick Saban or Arkansas’ Bret Bielema?
7) We alluded to this last week, the likelihood of Harbaugh and Co. customizing drones for blue-chip recruits throughout the country. These high-tech machines, emblazoned with the Michigan ‘Block M’ logo, would contain hologram recruiting pitches — like something out of Star Wars.
As in … Help us, (insert recruit’s name), you’re our only hope.
We checked the NCAA rule book, and there doesn’t appear to be much drone regulation in college football — outside of discouraging flyovers at the practice facilities of opposing teams.
That move, if permissible, would have had “HARBAUGH” written all over it.
Jay Clemons, the 2015 national winner for “Sports Blog Of The Year” (Cynopsis Media), has previously written for SI.com, The National Football Post, Bleacher Report and FOX Sports.