Michigan won't comment on numerous reports that Jim Harbaugh will become the next football coach at his alma mater, but indications point to his possible return.
According to various reports, Harbaugh, a former Michigan quarterback during the 1980s, is expected to take the job at Michigan after coaching his final game with the 49ers on Sunday. Michigan officials have been in San Francisco this weekend.
He is expected to be formally introduced at a news conference Tuesday and then appear at the Crisler Center during Michigan's basketball game against Illinois.
Bruce Feldman, national college sports reporter for Fox Sports, indicated Sunday on Twitter that Harbaugh and his family are planning to fly to Ann Arbor on Monday.
"We're not going to comment until we have a head coach in place," Michigan associate athletic director Dave Ablauf said Sunday. "We're not going to enter any speculation – we've said that all along."
Michigan has been tight-lipped during the search process that interim athletic director Jim Hackett has conducted since firing Brady Hoke. But Harbaugh has been the clear No. 1 target from the start.
For weeks, NFL insiders have said there was no chance Harbaugh, 51, who took the 49ers to the NFC championship game his first three seasons and a Super Bowl in his second, would leave for Michigan. He has one year remaining on his contract with the 49ers, but his relationship with the organization has soured, and Harbaugh was expected to move on after this season regardless.
But on Sunday, while some NFL experts like NFL.com's Ian Rapoport cautioned that Harbaugh had not yet signed with Michigan, most said all indications pointed to Harbaugh returning to the Wolverines.
"They believe Jim Harbaugh will be their next coach, and they hope to bring him home from California tonight or possibly Monday after Harbaugh meets with his players and meets with 49ers brass and informs them what he wants to do," Rapoport said Sunday on the NFL Network, referring to Michigan officials.
"I'm told at this point no firm deal is in place, nothing is signed, but Michigan officials hope there will be one after tonight's game. But the Oakland Raiders have not been told they are out, that is worth noting."
Sources at Michigan indicated the last few weeks they felt good about Harbaugh coming to Michigan, particularly with Hackett leading the charge. Hackett took over at the end of October after athletic director Dave Brandon resigned. Hackett fired Hoke Dec. 2, three days after Michigan lost to Ohio State for the 10th time in the last 11 meetings, and then officially launched the search for a new coach.
As word and rumors spread Saturday regarding Harbaugh's likely Ann Arbor destination, tickets for Michigan's basketball game against Illinois on Tuesday also got snatched up even as the prices increased. Many expect Harbaugh will be introduced at halftime of the game after a news conference, but Michigan officials can't confirm any of those events.
A week ago, a check of StubHub for ticket prices to that game showed tickets to be plentiful and the cheapest at about $30. By late Sunday, only about 80 tickets remained with the least expensive going for $125.