Former Michigan basketball star Chris Webber wasted no time accepting an invitation from Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh to be an honorary captain. During a radio interview on Friday, Harbaugh extended the invite to Webber and Webber quickly accepted.
“I definitely am honored,” Webber said to Harbaugh on Friday during a segment on WTKA (as quoted and reported by The Detroit News). “As you know, and getting to speak to you over the years, I love what you’ve done with the program. Good luck, and yeah, I’m definitely going to be a part of it.”
Webber was an in-studio guest on the radio station Friday. Harbaugh reportedly called in specifically to extend the invitation to Webber during a radio marathon event. For Harbaugh, this is once again striking at an opportunity to generate some buzz for the football program, but including Webber in such a role is worth noting. Webber was required to have a 10-year separation from the University of Michigan due to his connection to a booster scandal associated with the basketball program. Webber continues to rebuild his relationship with the school and other members of Michigan’s famed Fab Five.
What game Webber will attend as an honorary captain will be decided at a later time.
Jim Harbaugh and the Michigan Wolverines are looking to get in some early work on the recruiting trail with a Massachusetts recruit. As has become a bit of a trend over the years, Michigan is offering a scholarship to an eighth grader with the size that scouts cannot miss.
Tyler Martin of Cambridge, Massachusetts announced via Twitter he has received an offer from Michigan. Of course, to receive an offer form a program like Michigan before entering high school for the first time doesn’t happen to just any middle schooler. Martin just so happens to stand out in the crowd at 6′-3″ and 227 pounds, according to USA Today. Having played both tight end and linebacker in middle school, Martin has already shown some skill that future coaches will hope develops to stay ahead of the curve.
As noted by USA Today, Martin is already thinking about his future. Just last month, Martin visited Boston College to scope out the scene. Given his size and ability to play two positions, if that continues to excel in high school, more and more programs from around the country will take an interest if they have not already.
This bit of a recruiting tactic is one that is aimed to be brought to an end by a proposal from the ACC regarding the recruiting process. As previously reported, a proposal from the ACC would restrict schools from extending any form of offer to a prospective student-athlete until September 1 of that player’s junior year of high school. Of course, that doesn’t mean that student can’t begin the recruiting process. It simply means making an offer to a middle schooler just about to go into high school would be prohibited.
Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh has said he wants to make a spring trip for the football program an annual event. Staying true to his word, Harbaugh announced Michigan will be heading to South Africa next spring.
“We’re going to (South) Africa,” Harbaugh said in a radio interview with WTKA-AM in Ann Arbor, according to The Detroit Free Press. “We’re going to Johannesburg and Cape Town and we’re going to do a safari. How about that? How about a safari?”
This spring, Michigan visited Paris. Last year, the team took a trip to Rome. This all started becoming a thing after opposing football coaches in the south caused an uproar over Michigan packing up the program and heading to Clearwater for some spring football practices.
Each of the past two trips for Michigan have been covered by donations from some big-money donors to the program. Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick and The Graham Group founder Don Graham split the bill for Michigan’s trip to Paris this spring. Kotick also took up the expenses for Michigan’s trip to Rome in 2017. It is unknown how Michigan is covering the pending expense of a trip to South Africa at this time, but if donors with deep pockets keep taking care of the charges, there is no reason not to take advantage of the travel opportunities.
In the meantime, Harbaugh has plenty of time to pick out a good safari hat to go with his finest pairs of khaki pants. Of course, he’ll probably stick to the blue Michigan cap to keep with his style abroad.
If you enjoyed “All or Nothing: The Michigan Wolverines” on Amazon Prime and want to see more, you could potentially get it. The Michigan football program is reportedly discussing the idea of a second season on the streaming video service that could continue following the Wolverines for another season.
“It’s a possibility,” Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh said while attending an event in Ohio on Thursday, according to MLive.com. “[We’re] kind of talking to people and asking them what they think.”
There is a financial incentive to being the star subject of a streaming documentary series, of course. Michigan received $2.25 million from Amazon for opening the program up to Amazon’s cameras. The eight-episode program followed Michigan’s football program on their offseason tour to Rome, Italy and throughout the 2017 season through wins and losses. The full series went live on Amazon for Amazon Prime customers in early April.
One person who has not watched the series? That would be Harbaugh, who says he can’t stand to watch himself on camera. He also doesn’t want to re-live a few of the moments from last season.
“I can’t watch myself,” Harbaugh said. “I can’t even hear my own voice on tape recorder. Some of those losses, I don’t think I could watch them.”
Would you all in for a second season watching behind the scenes footage of the Wolverines? Or would you like to see Amazon do something similar with another program?
Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh is always willing to offer his take on any number of subjects the sport of college football faces. Among the issues that never seems to go away is whether or not players should be compensated as a student-athlete beyond just a scholarship. Speaking at an event on Thursday, Harbaugh touched on the subject and expressed some concerns he has with the concept.
“If you pay players, if you made them employees in college sports, then they’ll have to pay taxes and would the scholarship become a taxable benefit,” Harbaugh openly wondered, according to the Detroit Free Press. “If he’s getting a $65,000 scholarship plus $30,000 or $40,000 a year, is the government going to look and say ‘you owe us 40 percent in taxes’ and are you paying more than you make back into taxes?”
Harbaugh’s point about the government taxing players on any additional compensation on top of the value of a scholarship is not unique, and it has been mentioned before. It is a valid concern that sometimes gets overlooked. Paying a player could qualify them to be legally viewed as employees of a university, which opens up their income to be taxable assets.
“I worry about making them employees. But maybe there’s a way to do some kind of deferred compensation,” Harbaugh continued. “I think that (could be) a possibility and we’re exploring that right now.”
This is another idea that has been floated around before as well. Creating a fund that can be paid to a player upon completion of their college career to account for various compensation could be a possible solution to the “pay the players” model, although that would still have many details to sort out before becoming a realistic possibility.