Jim Harbaugh has long been rumored as a possible future NFL coach, especially after his dalliance last offseason.

But according to a new report from NFL insiders Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero, it may not be an easy move. They reported that the NFL is unlikely to make itself a safe harbor for Harbaugh to escape what could be substantial NCAA discipline, according to league sources, and that raises the strong possibility Harbaugh would need to serve some or all of any possible suspension he could face in college if he returns to the pros.

Interesting, the NFL sources pointed to former Ohio State coach Jim Tressel as precedent for how the NFL and its teams could handle a college suspension of Harbaugh.

That comes from 2011, when then-Ohio State quarterback Terrell Pryor faced a 5-game suspension for trading memorabilia for cash and tattoos. In those days, Tressel, who was suspended 5 games by Ohio State, and then eventually resigned as Buckeyes coach amidst the scandal, took a game-day consultant job with the Colts, and the NFL’s decision on Pryor raised questions. As is often the case with coaches, the league allowed the team to handle the case, and the Colts announced Tressel wouldn’t be with the club until Week 7 of the 2011 season, the NFL insiders reported.

Here’s the meat of the report:

“It wasn’t officially announced as a suspension, but in consultation with the NFL, the effect was the same. And the point was made: No one should escape discipline by leaving college for the pros.

That precedent could prove relevant for Harbaugh, who interviewed for the Vikings and Broncos head coaching jobs the past two offseasons, respectively.”