Urban's Dilemma: Is it OK to Agree With Jim Harbaugh?

Bruce Hooley

You've heard of the unwritten rules of sports?

No bunting to break up a baseball no-hitter.

No dunking at the buzzer to add to a clear margin of victory in basketball.

No firing a slap shot at the hockey goalie after the buzzer sounds to end the period.

There are more, but leave it to former Ohio State coach Urban Meyer to unveil a little-known admonition that applies to any innovative idea, no matter how good:

If it requires agreement with Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, note your regret up front.

That's what Meyer did recently in an interview with Fox Sports when asked about Harbaugh's letter to the NFL that proposed changes to its annual draft.

The most notable proposal was allowing players of any age to enter the draft and then return to school if they fail to sign an NFL contract.

“As much as I sometimes get challenged on whether to agree with Coach Harbaugh or not, I thought it was a great letter,” Meyer said. "I thought there were some great points in it.

"There’s actually a group of coaches that have been having conversation about keep pro pro, keep college college. Any time a player wants to go test the markets and become a pro athlete, go do it.”

Ohio State fans saw Harbaugh's proposal as a nefarious attempt to lure more Buckeyes into the draft early.

In the Michigan coach's scenario, it's likely cornerback Shaun Wade, linebackers Baron Browning and Peter Werner, center Josh Meyers, guard Wyatt Davis, tackle Thayer Munford and receiver Chris Olave would have dipped their toe in the water this past April for a look-see at their NFL prospects.

Some would have likely returned to the team for the 2020 season, but it's unlikely all of them would, as became the case in January when they allowed the deadline to pass for entering the league.

What isn't clear is how schools would deal with the logjam of players over the 85-scholarship limit if 10 declared early for the draft, six of them returned, but new recruits had already been signed to replace them.

Even though he agrees with the thrust of removing the requirement players be three years removed from high school before being allowed to enter the NFL, Meyer knows there would be inevitable down sides to that change.

“Make no doubt about it — there will be plenty of players get hurt and hurt badly from this,” he said. "The reality is the NFL is very, very, very hard. What’s going to happen is guys are going to get agents, they’re going to get those third uncles that say, ‘Go to the NFL.’ I’ve dealt with it at least a hundred times.

"And they don’t get drafted, and they give away a free education.”

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