Go ahead and throw out any adjective when describing Jim Harbaugh’s 15-month impact on college football as Michigan’s head coach.
Annoying. Arrogant. Bombastic. Brilliant. Cold. Calculating. Clever.
Competitive. Defiant. Energetic. Enigmatic. Exuberant. Funny. Honest.
Idealistic. Insecure. Inspiring. Intuitive. Relentless. Uncanny. Unruly. Witty.
Whether friend or foe, each term undoubtedly fits into a customized Harbaugh narrative. It comes with the territory when discussing perhaps the most polarizing figure in college football.
Here’s another Harbaugh adjective to ponder: Forward-thinking … as in the wildly successful coach (Stanford, Michigan, the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers) had to know his 2015 initiative — or loophole concept — of holding “satellite camps” in territories outside of the Midwest would end, sooner than later.
He also had to know his attention-seeking ways would eventually force the NCAA’s hand, in terms of regulating or outright dismissing the notion of bringing the “Michigan experience” to hand-picked locales in the South — otherwise known as SEC Country (ah, a great name for a website).
As such, Harbaugh should neither be surprised nor disappointed by the NCAA’s Friday ruling against satellite camps that immediately outlaws the concept of FBS programs hosting camps or clinics outside their school’s camps or clinics. Simply put, if the Michigan coaches had this pegged as a “one-time mission,” they shouldn’t be upset with the Division I council’s declaration.
They might even be thrilled.
Yes, Friday’s news technically goes up as a “win” on SEC- and ACC-affiliated scoreboards; but this hardly counts as a “loss” for Harbaugh or Michigan.
If anything, it’s a half-defeat for the many prominent coaches — high-profile leaders from the Big 12, Big Ten and Pac-12 — who were too slow to join the satellite camp fad.
And that’s exactly how I view things today, through the various prisms of being a Detroit-area native, 10-year resident of Atlanta and proud Michigan State graduate: All the whining and moaning and lamenting of Harbaugh’s road-show tactics were, in earnest, much ado about nothing.
**The NCAA could permit schools from the North, East and West to conduct three annual satellite camps in Birmingham, Ala … and under Nick Saban’s watch, the University of Alabama would still rank top-five nationally for recruiting.
(Citing 247Sports.com, Alabama has landed the nation’s top-ranked recruiting class for six consecutive years, an impossible-to-believe feat in today’s technologically advanced world.)
**The NCAA could permit head coaches from Power 5 schools to literally build a Donald Trump-style wall around the state of Louisiana — for recruiting purposes only — and LSU would still finagle the vast majority of blue-chip recruits from the talent-rich state.
**The University of Michigan could erect a satellite extension campus right next to the sprawling digs of the famed IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. (hotbed of prep talent) — the same locale of Harbaugh’s “spring break” practices — and the coaches at Florida, Florida State and Miami would still be knee-deep in NFL-caliber prospects every other year.
The larger point here: There’s an overabundance of college-level talent in the southern states, and who could blame the other conferences for wanting a piece of the action?
Especially when they weren’t breaking any rules (prior to Friday).
As such, don’t expect Harbaugh to become quiet or complacent or even less annoying, in lieu of the Division I Council ruling. He’ll find other ways to get under the respective skin of SEC coaches, fans and administrators.
Lest we forget about Michigan’s National Signing Day party in February (a surreal gathering of athletes, benefactors, celebrities and pro wrestlers), or the prospect ‘sleepovers’ that occurred in the final days of January?
Let’s also not underrate Harbaugh’s upcoming innovation for 2016 (spoiler alert):
Personalized drones, emblazoned with the Michigan ‘Block M’ logo, delivering Princess Leah-inspired hologram messages for blue-chip recruits in Georgia, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida.
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.