Michigan's Jim Harbaugh: Pandemic tabled talk of contract extension
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, whose contract expires after the 2021 season, said hammering out a contract extension has taken a back seat during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Harbaugh said he and athletic director Warde Manuel were discussing his contract in February. He is set to earn just more than $8 million this season, his sixth as Michigan's head coach.
“And then the pandemic hit and it's been not as high on the priority list," Harbaugh said Wednesday on a video conference with reporters.
According to Harbaugh’s contract, “the parties agree that by December 1, 2021 they will meet and indicate whether they have a mutual interest in negotiating an extension.” Negotiations are typically done long before contracts are set to expire.
Ironically, Manuel’s five-year contract that began March 14, 2016, expires before Harbaugh’s. Manuel’s current contract goes through March 13, 2021.
Manuel recently presented the athletic department projection of a $26.1 million deficit for fiscal year 2021 to the University Regents, the budget hard hit by the pandemic. In response, Manuel, Harbaugh and men's basketball coach Juwan Howard have taken 10% salary reductions. Manuel had already taken a 5% cut in April.
“I think there’s bigger fish to fry for our athletic director, for our administration, for really me as a coach,” Harbaugh said of his contract extension. “I would expect something, that there will be an announcement at some time. I’m under contract this year and next. We’ll get to that, I’m sure. We’ll get to that when that’s more high on the priority list for everybody.”