Urban Meyer and Jim Harbaugh stood on opposite sidelines for four seasons, trying to defeat each other in the biggest game of the season for both Ohio State and Michigan. Now, the two former rivals are joining forces…kind of.
Harbaugh recently released an open letter to the “football community,” discussing potential changes to help improve the student-athlete experience at the college level. Most notably, the Michigan head coach thought football players should be eligible for the NFL Draft following their freshman season, and also thought if players aren’t selected in the draft, they should be permitted to return to school.
While it’s a rarity for Ohio State and Michigan to agree on anything, Meyer is backing Harbaugh’s letter.
“As much as I sometimes get challenged on whether to agree with Coach Harbaugh or not, I thought it was a great letter,” Meyer said on Fox Sports. “I thought there were some great points in it. There’s actually a group of coaches that have been having conversation about keep pro pro, keep college college. Any time a player wants to go test the markets and become a pro athlete, go do it.”
Meyer did add one caveat to Harbaugh’s recommendation, though. He suggested that it could be a slippery slope with players potentially hiring agents and getting bad advice about their future.
“Make no doubt about it — there will be plenty of players get hurt and hurt badly from this,” Meyer said. “The reality is the NFL is very, very, very hard. What’s going to happen is guys are going to get agents, they’re going to get those third uncles that say, ‘Go to the NFL.’ I’ve dealt with it at least a hundred times.
“And they don’t get drafted, and they give away a free education.”
Currently, the NCAA’s amateurism rules do not permit student-athletes to hire an agent. If that process is breached, under current rules, players are no longer permitted to return to the college game.
Still, Meyer and Harbaugh seem to be on the same page here, at least for the most part. It may be some time before we can say that again.