Michigan's Jim Harbaugh says college football should be played, explains why
College football is on the brink of being canceled.
But Michigan football Jim Harbaugh still hopes a season can be played. And he made his thoughts known Monday morning in a letter that laid out his reasoning for why he believes football can still happen this fall.
As the Free Press reported that the Big Ten was planning to cancel college football for the fall,, Harbaugh laid out his argument by citing evidence that he says the program has accumulated in the eight weeks since players returned to campus for voluntary workouts on June 13. The statement reads:
• The Michigan football program has had 11 positive tests out of 893 administered, including three upon initial return to campus.
• We have had two positive tests out of the last 417 administered.
• We have had zero positive tests out of the last 353 administered.
• There have been zero positives tests among the coaches or staff over the entire eight weeks of testing.
[ Big Ten reportedly voted 12-2 to cancel football season; U-M voted not to play ]
• There has been no contract tracing to our fields, weight room, locker room or facility.
• We have had zero pauses in our training.
• We have complied with all CDC guidelines and self‐implemented stricter standards for contacting tracing in quarantining to prevent spread.
• We have followed all health and safety guidelines and welcome and encourage any health department, University administrators or other sports programs to visit and see how we practice and execute these protocols.
• As Darryl Conway our Chief Medical Officer and a member of the Big Ten’s Medical Advisory Group has stated, “I wish that others could see this model.”
"This isn’t easy," Harbaugh wrote. "This is hard. It is proven that the conduct, discipline and structure within our program have led to these stellar results. We respect the challenge that the virus has presented however we will not cower from it. We have developed a great prototype for how we can make this work and provide the opportunity for players to play. If you are transparent and follow the rules, this is how it can be done.
"I am forever proud of our players, parents, coaches and staff for being leaders and role models in our sport, at our institution and in society. We will continue to follow all health and safety guidelines, teach, train, and coach those young men and their families that have put their trust in us, while advocating for a football season in the fall.
"In quoting President Theodore Roosevelt, we do this “so that our place will not be among the cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."
At the end of the letter, Harbaugh included the "WeWantToPlay" and "WeWantToCoach" hashtags that have circulated since early Monday morning from both college football players and coaches.
Michigan's Hunter Reynolds, who led the Big Ten United movement, was involved in a united coalition that released a statement with six requests, including that an association be created for college football players. Meanwhile, coaches such as offensive coordinator Josh Gattis, safeties coach Bob Shoop and tight ends coach Sherrone Moore tweeted out the #WeWantToCoach hashtag on Monday morning.
Michigan also saw widespread support from players including defensive end Aidan Hutchinson, linebacker Ben VanSumeren, cornerback Andre Seldon Jr. and defensive end Braiden McGregor.
Hutchinson, a junior considered one of the team's top players, wrote, "Coach Harbaugh and the staff have implemented the best possible protocols in order for us to stay healthy. The results support my claim. The athletes deserve a voice in this life-changing decision regarding the season."
His father, Chris (who played at Michigan from 1989-1992 and is now an emergency room doctor at Beaumont Hospital), voiced his support in a response to his son's tweet.
"I support Aidan, not only as his father but as an ER doc who has lived through some of the worst Covid in the country," Chris Hutchinson wrote. "I support them playing as the protocols at the University of Michigan have proven to work. I feel my son is in the safest program and conference in the country."
Several other parents voiced their support for a season, as well.
"An immensely powerful Theodore Roosevelt quote by Jim Harbaugh," wrote Claude Johnson, father of receiver Cornelius Johnson. "(Michigan) tried every possible thing. Everything. Players, coaches, staff, parents, the university. We should all be very proud. I wish EVERYONE would follow their model. EVERYONE."
Contact Orion Sang at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @orion_sang. Read more on the Michigan Wolverines and sign up for our Wolverines newsletter.