Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh received a $500,000 bonus when his team defeated Ohio State to secure the Big Ten East crown on Saturday, and within 48 hours he’d teamed with his wife, Sarah, to develop a plan for how to use it.
During his weekly appearance on the “Inside Michigan Football” radio show, Harbaugh announced his intention to funnel any bonus money he receives to the U-M athletic department as a means of repaying employees who worked for reduced wages because of the pandemic.
“Sarah and I were talking about it last night,” Harbaugh said, “and we decided any bonus money that I am to receive through this season will be redirected to reimburse U of M athletic department employees who have stayed while taking a voluntary or mandatory pay reduction during the last 18 months during the pandemic.”
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In June 2020, Harbaugh, athletic director Warde Manuel and men's basketball coach Juwan Howard were among the "senior-level administrators" and "many head coaches" who would accept the 10% pay cut for the 2021 fiscal year.
The school said at the time that "full-time staff members earning between $50,000-$100,000 will have salaries reduced by 5%, and employees earning between $100,001-$150,000 will have wages reduced by 7.5% during the same period. Staff earning less than $50,000 will not see any reduction in pay."
There’s a chance Harbaugh could earn a lot more money in the coming weeks. A victory in the Big Ten title game on Saturday would trigger a $1 million bonus clause in his contract, and the ensuing berth in the College Football Playoff would kick in another $500,000. He could earn an additional $1 million if the Wolverines to win the national title.
Harbaugh is likely to collect a bonus of $200,000 regardless of what happens in Indianapolis because Michigan will almost certainly qualify for one of the New Year’s Six bowls at a minimum. He also stands to earn up to $125,000 through various Big Ten and national Coach of the Year honors he might receive.
“Whether it’s folks that work here in football or at the ticket department or baseball coaches, (swimming and diving coach) Mike Bottom, there’s so many people that my wife has gotten very close to, the kids have,” Harbaugh said. “Really just our family way, our family contribution to those that have had some financial strain through the last 18 months.”