Paul Finebaum calls Michigan football’s Jim Harbaugh a ‘dinosaur in a changing world’

 To ESPN’s Paul Finebaum, Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh is a “fascinating figure” and a relic of the old college football game.

On the most recent episode of Hail Yes, the Detroit Free Press podcast about Michigan sports, Finebaum said, “I think he’s somewhat of a dinosaur in a changing world,” in reference to Harbaugh’s future, Michigan’s sign-stealing scandal, and the Wolverines’ playoff semifinal matchup against Alabama in the Rose Bowl.

The seasoned college football expert and talk show host elaborated on the idea, stating that he wouldn’t be shocked if Harbaugh led the Wolverines to their final appearance in the College Football Playoffs this year.

Finebaum, like many others, said he would be surprised if he ended up staying in Michigan at the end of the season. Finebaum remarked, “I think there’s too much baggage built up.”

He is referring to Harbaugh’s repeated three-game bans from the 2023 season as baggage. Serving a three-game punishment that the university self-imposed due to suspected recruiting infractions during the COVID-19 dead period, Harbaugh missed the first three games of the season (Michigan got their Notice of Allegations from the NCAA on this probe on Wednesday).

Finebaum, however, was more concerned about the second suspension. When word leaked out in late October about its purported sign-stealing plan, Michigan quickly became the biggest story in college football. In response to Harbaugh’s violation of the Big 10 sportsmanship standard, the conference suspended him for the last three games of the season, and both the NCAA and the Big Ten initiated investigations into the matter.

Finebaum feels that “(Harbaugh) would be wise to leave” since he and the NCAA are at conflict over the continuing NCAA inquiry into the sign-stealing.

“I do believe that there are at least some people at the University of Michigan with integrity, and who believe what he has been accused of is probably not — he’s not going to be able to get away with it,” Finebaum said. “I

Many have very little, if any, trust in the NCAA, but these two appear to be headed straight into conflict. Additionally, Tony Pettiti, the commissioner of the Big Ten, showed me something special a few weeks ago; you don’t typically see that from a conference office. Rather, you witness the conference office taking all reasonable precautions to safeguard the institution, regardless of the circumstances.

Since Harbaugh is one of the most well-liked and vocal voices in college football, he has been in Finebaum’s sights for a long time. In 2016, Finebaum criticized Harbaugh of being aggressive and attention-grabbing, drawing comparisons between him and former President Donald Trump’s early years at Michigan.

accusing him of lying when, in 2017, he hired a former NFL coordinator who happened to be a top high school prospect’s father. In retaliation, Harbaugh labeled Finebaum “the unabashed SEC water carrier” in a 2017 tweet.

In an interview with Hail Yes, Finebaum revealed that ESPN had asked him in recent years to keep weighing in on Harbaugh when it was thought necessary. As a result, he gained notoriety for criticizing Harbaugh for his 1-6 bowl record and, most recently, for calling him depressing for having called Michigan “America’s team” during the height of the sign-stealing scandal, even though he had previously supported Harbaugh.

“As some of you may recall, at first I thought the NCAA was trying to get (Harbaugh),” Finebaum remarked. “It was incredible how some of the nice Michigan shows contacted me. Rich Eisen asked if I could appear on the show today. All of that changed when I began to reassess my understanding of the case’s facts and altered my mind. Since then, I believe you guys are aware of my whereabouts, where the majority of individuals have been outside of Michigan fans.


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