John Harbaugh Defends Brother Jim vs. SEC

Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh, brother of Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, recently came to the defense of his younger brother.

A noted fan of WWE, Jim Harbaugh spent Monday evening pumping up the Detroit crowd at Joe Louis Arena with 'Monday Night Raw' in town.

For Harbaugh, it was a night outside of the ring but front row, recently dealing with a bevy of one-two punches and suplex directed toward him from the SEC, ACC and even NCAA President Mark Emmert.

The meaning for the battle royal? Spring Break.

At least that's what the SEC and commissioner Greg Sankey will have you believe. Sankey was specific and stoic in his complaint to the NCAA, accusing Michigan of forcing student-athletes to spend too many hours focusing on football, directly in reference to the Wolverines week trip to Florida for four spring practices.

Although many have stood by Sankey's claims, including ACC commissioner John Swofford, many believe it to be a flawed argument and the only way to combat a clearly creative and strategic move, particularly from a recruiting perspective.

Recently asked about Harbaugh's spring break Bradenton edition, new Georgia coach Kirby Smart says this is all about a competitive advantage, and nothing else.

Harbaugh himself called the backlash "comical" Friday, making time to speak with reporters during an autograph session in Ann Arbor.

Monday morning, Harbaugh's brother John, Coach of the Baltimore Ravens, decided to offer a vote of confidence in an appearance on 'The Michigan Insider' on Sports Talk 1050AM WTKA.

"I think it's kind of funny," Harbaugh said. "It's interesting to watch. I wish they would be a little bit careful about just jumping out there and taking a stand, a moral outrage kind of a position on things that really are fun things, that are creative and fun and good for the sport. 

"To take a position and say that this is wrong or this is bad, there's a lot of things going on in this world right now that deserve moral outrage that we need to be concerned about. But, young kids taking a spring trip down to Florida to practice football, is not one of those things."

Harbaugh went on to point out some players on Michigan's roster may have never been to Florida, also serving as a chance for Florida natives to head home and see family.

Beyond that, Harbaugh also mentioned although Michigan's football players will be practicing during spring break, it will provide a week off of practice during the semester upon returning, while every other football program will have it's student-athletes juggling both school and practice.

The most jarring issue Harbaugh took with the negative response to the trip came from  Mark Emmert.

"I was shocked that the president of the NCAA came out and made a statement that really served the agenda of some teams over other teams," he said. "You're supposed to be in a neutral position. When you start taking a position of moral outrage for things that are really self serving, that's just disappointing. 

"I think people need to lighten up a little bit, and enjoy it, it's supposed to be competitive, you're talking about the highest level of college sports and it's all being done with great integrity. I just think it's kind of funny."


The Michigan Insider Top Stories