Las Vegas is no stranger to high-stakes gambles, and for the Raiders, considering Jim Harbaugh as their next head coach, after firing Josh McDaniels on Tuesday, could be just that. While Harbaugh’s NFL accolades are undeniable, recent allegations and potential NCAA disciplinary repercussions from his tenure at Michigan might not remain confined to college football. If the Raiders decide to roll the dice with him, they might find themselves grappling with more than just game-day strategies.
Harbaugh’s NCAA Investigation Punishment Could Follow Him to NFL
For many, Jim Harbaugh’s potential return to the NFL has been a matter of “when” rather than “if,” especially given his commendable stint as head coach of the 49ers. Achieving a 49-22-1 record and leading the team to three NFC Championship appearances and a Super Bowl visit, Harbaugh has showcased his mettle in the league. However, his recent challenges at Michigan cannot be ignored.
In recent times, the cloud of controversy has followed Harbaugh. A three-game suspension has already been meted out for alleged recruiting violations during the pandemic. Yet, a possibly larger storm looms with the hint of another scandal – a purported sign-stealing operation. Although Harbaugh has refuted any involvement, the NCAA’s disciplinary axe might still swing.
Drawing from history, the NFL’s treatment of former Ohio State members, quarterback Terrell Pryor and coach Jim Tressel, offers a clue. Despite transitioning to the pros, their college suspensions didn’t evaporate. The message from the NFL was lucid – the league won’t act as a refuge from college penalties. If Harbaugh indeed transitions back to the NFL, he could find that the college shadows persistently trail him.
Raiders Could Overlook Michigan Wrongdoings
However, the Raiders, in their quest for stability and rebranding, might see Harbaugh, controversies and all, as a gamble worth taking. His past successes, combined with the attention his hiring would garner, might be appealing to a franchise eager to solidify its position.
Nevertheless, Harbaugh isn’t the only contender in the mix. Potential candidates like Detroit’s Ben Johnson and Miami’s Frank Smith have demonstrated their NFL promise. Not to be overlooked, Packers’ Rich Bisaccia, with his past ties to the Raiders, remains a strong contender.
As Antonio Pierce takes the interim reins for the Raiders, preparing for their clash against the Giants, the spotlight is firmly on the team’s next steps. Whatever path the Raiders choose, it’s clear their journey will be keenly followed.