By Jim Naveau
CHICAGO — Jim Harbaugh did not back away from a comment earlier this week that controversy has followed former Ohio State coach Urban Meyer throughout his career.
On a podcast with Tim Kawakami of The Athletic, Harbaugh said, “Urban Meyers’ had a winning record, a really phenomenal record everywhere he’s been. But also, controversy follows everywhere he’s been.”
Asked about this and for some context on the comment on Friday morning at the Big Ten football media days, Harbaugh said, “No context you should know about. I don’t think it was anything that was anything new or a bombshell. It’s things that many of you all understand and have written about.”
During a Friday afternoon press opportunity he said, “I don’t see why people are so afraid to say what they think. It was me giving my opinion. There was nothing more to it than that. It was me saying what I think.”
Meyer was 4-0 against Harbaugh’s teams at Michigan and 7-0 overall against Michigan.
OVERSEAS GAME FOR WOLVERINES?: Harbaugh, who has taken Michigan on off-season trips to Paris and Rome indicated Michigan is close to playing a game in another country.
“Yeah, you know, we like travel. Mexico City would be great. We’re scheduling — I think we’re really close to announcing, actually, playing another team on foreign soil. I won’t say what it is because — have you heard anything about this? Then I’d better not say it because we’re probably not ready to release that yet. But I think there’s something really imminent. There will be an announcement soon on that.”
PRESSURE, WHAT PRESSURE?: Harbaugh said Michigan uses its 0-4 record against Ohio State with him as coach and 14 losses to OSU in the last 15 seasons as motivation.
“We embrace the negative and say, ‘Let’s take it into account the times you’ve lost and make that not happen again.’ We term it as a challenge, a great opportunity. We welcome it, we feed off it. You say pressure, we say, ‘Let’s see how much pressure we can apply,’ ” he said.
NOT FAMILIAR WITH DAY: Harbaugh said he knows very little about new Ohio State coach Ryan Day.
“My wife met his wife yesterday at the (Big Ten) wives luncheon and said she really liked her. Don Brown (Michigan’s defensive coordinator) coached with him (at Boston College). But I don’t know what makes him tick,” he said.
OK WITH TRANSFER CHANGES: Harbaugh said he favors allowing players to transfer once without a penalty.
“My opinion is that every student athlete should have a one-time ability to transfer and not have to sit out a year, and then if they were to transfer a second time, then the previous rule that we had, where you had to sit out a year of eligibility, and with that, I would also keep the graduate transfer rule that we have in place right now, where you can graduate and transfer and become immediately eligible.
“You have one time where you can transfer, be immediately eligible. A second time you’d have to sit out a year, while still having the graduate transfer rule. It would be good to just have a clear, concise, where everybody understands what the ramifications are. I think that would be a fair way to proceed.”