In what could only be considered a stunning development, Jim Harbaugh is making headlines. Again.
Following Michigan’s 28-10 win over Purdue Saturday, Harbaugh took issues with the facilities at Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette. From no air conditioning in the visiting locker room — there is in the home team’s locker room — to just two urinals, total, for the entire team and staff to use to lack of on-site medical facilities, Harbaugh was highly critical of the situation, calling on the Big Ten to address the situation league-wide.
The situation was so bad from their perspective that Harbaugh afforded his starters the opportunity to take pregame respite on the team bus from unseasonable heat that was close to 100 degrees on the field
There’s no air conditioning,” Harbaugh said. “It was so cramped, so hot. It was like a hot box. Really the only way to get relief was to open the doors, and you have people watching you dress. It’s not good.
“The number of urinals for players and staff, I think there was two. There’s not even a private door. …
“There has to be a minimum standard of care for the players,” Harbaugh said. “We put a lot of emphasis into the health and safety of the players, but it doesn’t even seem sanitary.
“I wish I had taken a picture of the actual table that is given to the visitors to put players on that are injured. It looked like it was from the 20s.
Not surprisingly, Harbaugh’s criticisms didn’t sit well with Purdue. In fact, the football program felt compelled to issue a lengthy statement addressing the issues raised by the opposing coach — flatly stating that there were options UM could’ve taken advantage of but didn’t.
Below is that statement, in its entirety:
Purdue regards the welfare of all student-athletes as its No. 1 priority. We would fully support a conversation regarding a conference-wide set of guidelines for visiting football team accommodations because we have experienced less-than-ideal conditions on the road. There is no place for gamesmanship when it comes to player care and safety.
The after-the-fact concerns expressed by Michigan are somewhat surprising because a member of its football staff conducted a walk-thru of our facilities with our athletics department staff at Ross-Ade Stadium on July 18.
Furthermore, to help teams prepare in advance, our visiting team manual highlights in bold type “there is no air conditioning in the (visiting) locker room,” with accompanying Purdue Athletics staff contact information about how to request preferred temporary accommodations. We did not receive any such request.
Basic x-ray is available within our athletic footprint and more-sophisticated capabilities are located two blocks away, similar to the arrangements at many other schools. Our sports medicine staff members, in fact, have received numerous compliments from their Michigan counterparts regarding the care they received at Purdue.