Jim Harbaugh’s Salary Cut at Michigan Might Not Be as Big as You Think

Many athletic departments around the country are making budget cuts and some are even cutting some sports altogether during this COVID-19 pandemic. Because of this, some high-profile coaches are now receiving salary cuts. This includes Jim Harbaugh, the college football head coach for the Michigan Wolverines. The university announced on Monday that he will receive less money starting on Aug. 1. Harbaugh makes plenty of money at Michigan, but the money he is reportedly going to lose due to this cut might not be as much as you’d expect.

Many athletic departments are making cuts across the country

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The COVID-19 pandemic has hit businesses across the entire country. This includes universities and athletic departments. Now, more and more athletic departments are making cuts.

Sports Illustrated reported in early June that in Division I, 30 athletic teams had been cut in eight weeks. Four schools had also cut at least three sports at that time, and Brown even discontinued eight athletic programs. The article also reported that more than 80 programs had been eliminated across all levels at that point.

The coaches and athletes on these teams aren’t going down without a fight, though. Many have begun signing petitions and raising funds.

“We are all holding our breath in the Olympic sports community,” Kathy DeBoer, executive director of the American Volleyball Coaches Association, said, according to Sports Illustrated. “The people in sports that are not dropped get to breathe again. It’s like there are six bullets in the gun and 10 of us are standing there. If you’re still standing, I guess you want to celebrate, but you don’t—you just start breathing again before the next round.”

Many departments, even if they are not cutting any sports, are at least making budget cuts. 

Jim Harbaugh is getting a salary reduction

Jim Harbaugh is getting a 10% salary cut at Michigan starting on Aug. 1. The amount he is losing might not be as much as you think.
Head coach Jim Harbaugh of the Michigan Wolverines during a game against the Penn State Nittany Lions in 2019. | Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

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The University of Michigan athletic department is most likely going to have a budget deficit this year, according to MLive. So, many employees within the department are getting pay cuts. This includes Michigan head football coach Jim Harbaugh.

Harbaugh, along with the Wolverines’ head basketball coach Juwan Howard, athletic director Warde Manuel, and many other officials and head coaches, has agreed to take a 10% salary cut beginning on Aug. 1, according to MLive.

Michigan’s athletic department projects a deficit of $26.1 million. This is with a projected $135.8 million in operating revenues and $161.9 million in projected expenses, according to MLive. To help offset the deficit, the new proposal for the athletic department’s budget includes millions being reduced in pay, salaries, and benefits.

How much will Harbaugh lose?

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MLive reports that Harbaugh was supposed to get paid more than $8 million this year. However, most of his pay comes from outside sources. So, Harbaugh will reportedly get a 10% cut on his $605,000 salary over 11 months.

Additionally, MLive reports that Howard also makes a lot of money through other sources. He was due to receive $2.1 million in 2020 but will get a 10% pay cut over 11 months on a $400,000 salary. 

So, based on that report, Harbaugh’s pay cut might not be as drastic as it initially looks, especially when looking at how much he was supposed to make this year. Also, the Detroit Free Press reported that Harbaugh received a 10% raise before the COVID-19 pandemic. So, the cut kind of restores balance.

Hopefully, his pay cut, along with Howard’s and everyone else’s within the department, can keep the school from having to cut any sports. 

Even with the cut, though, Harbaugh should be just fine financially. He should probably just put all of his focus into beating the Ohio State Buckeyes, who he is 0-5 against.