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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Jim Harbaugh blasts Paul Finebaum over ‘cheating’ criticism

Jim Harbaugh

Paul Finebaum has been critical of Jim Harbaugh since the coach took over at Michigan, even going so far as to call some of his recruiting tactics “cheating.” On Thursday evening, Harbaugh responded.

The Wolverines head coach dropped the hammer on the ESPN SEC personality with this tweet, in which he (intentionally?) got Finebaum’s name wrong.

What had Harbaugh so heated against Finebaum, a longtime SEC talk show host?

On Wednesday, Finebaum questioned Harbaugh’s recruiting tactics during an appearance on ESPN’s “Outside the Lines.”

While Finebaum believes Harbaugh taking his team out of the country is “genius,” he calls Michigan hiring the father of a recruit for a coaching job”cheating.”

“This is wrong. It may not be illegal by NCAA standards and bylaws by this moment, but to me it’s cheating. It’s blatantly disregarding the spirit of the NCAA rules. We all know why he’s doing it,” Finebaum said on the show. “In my mind he’s cheating.”

Harbaugh has been one step of the NCAA every year since taking over at Michigan. First he organized satellite camps, forcing the NCAA to look into that. Then he took his team to Florida for spring practice, leading to a rule change. Now he’s going abroad and has many more of those trips planned. He is forcing the NCAA to close every loophole they have.

But hiring a recruit’s dad for a job in order to have a good shot at the recruit? It’s nothing new for coaches, but it does seem somewhat fishy.

Is that cheating or unethical? That’s up to everyone to decide. And maybe the NCAA will, too. But Harbaugh does have some good defenses to his hiring considering Mike Johnson does have a strong coaching background as a former 49ers offensive coordinator.

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