You have to hand it to Michigan Wolverines head football coach Jim Harbaugh. The man understands college football is all about recruiting. Harbaugh is slated to deliver the commencement address at Paramus Catholic in New Jersey. Paramus Catholic is a NJ football powerhouse and the alma mater of current Wolverines player Jabrill Peppers and top recruit/Michigan commit Rashan Gary. And, coincidentally, Harbaugh has his eyes on a number of Paramus Catholic players for 2017 and 2018.
As you know the NCAA recently banned satellite camps, limiting colleges and universities from hosting football camps for high school students away from their campuses. Satellite camps are huge for national recruiting, and if you’re going to be a successful head coach you need to be able to recruit nationally.
The head football coach of a major Division I university giving a high school commencement address sounds simple enough, but look deeper. Beyond the access to the kids, which of course is “limited”, because excessive contact is “against the rules”. Harbaugh will have time to ingratiate himself with the adults that are a part of the Paramus Catholic community. The teachers, administrators, alumni, and local business owners that support the school. That’s where seemingly innocuous conversations are conducted and “seeds” are planted; and in the insular world of high school football that is all you need.
According to North Jersey.com, Paramus Catholic president Jim Vail sees no issue:
Commencement is an academic ceremony. It’s not connected to athletics. But I have gotten to know Coach Harbaugh pretty well. I’m not a football guy, but I know a great educator when I see one, and he always impressed me as a great educator and great leader.
Ah yes, Coach Harbaugh the “educator”. I can’t knock Harbaugh’s hustle. This is one of the most competitive humans walking the planet and he will stop at nothing to win games and ultimately championships. And, there are no specific rules prohibiting coaches from giving high school commencement addresses. I do wonder, why is it okay for Harbaugh and other coaches (read:adults) to push the limits, test the NCAA and be “creative” in their interpretations, but “student athletes” (read:kids) must comply to the specific letter of the law?