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Former Ohio State coach blasts Jim Harbaugh, Michigan football

Nov 26, 2016; Columbus, OH, USA; Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh during the third quarter against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Ohio Stadium. Ohio State won 30-27. Mandatory Credit: Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Former Ohio State coach and now Cincinnati head coach Luke Fickell is not a very big fan of Jim Harbaugh and the University of Michigan.

In a piece published by The Athletic, Fickell blasted Harbaugh and Michigan for how Harbaugh handled the James Hudson transfer situation.

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Hudson was an offensive lineman for Michigan who elected to transfer because of mental health problems he was having while playing for the Wolverines. He was denied his original waiver for immediate eligibility and Fickell claims Harbaugh and Michigan is to blame.

From The Athletic:

“Here’s what I believe in the whole waiver process: the number one, most important thing, and all the power, comes from the school that a kid is leaving. No matter what. (Michigan) didn’t back the waiver. They can say what they want to say, but the only thing they said that was positive was that if the NCAA chooses to make (Hudson) eligible, then they would accept it — that they didn’t have an angle. They are just trying to cover their ass. And I’m really, completely disappointed in it.

“They can say they didn’t undermine it, but they didn’t work to help the kid out.”

Fickell says he called Harbaugh to see if he was willing to help out Hudson but the Wolverines head coach have him a “cold” response.

“I called him to say that I don’t know what’s going on with all these waivers, but I know James is here,” Fickell said. “Are you guys going to be vindictive against him, or do you want to help this kid? …

“All (Harbaugh) said to me was, ‘I’m not going to lie. I’m not going to lie. And I don’t know why we’re talking.’ It was really cold. I talked to Nick Saban because we have a transfer from Alabama. I talked to Ryan Day because we have a kid from Ohio State. We have a kid from Michigan, so I wanted to reach out, not to ask about the kid, but acknowledging that this kid has some issues and are you willing to help him? Or what are you willing to do? And it was pretty cold.”

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Fickell went on to blast Harbaugh and the Wolverines for coming after a transfer.

“It’s like a junior-high relationship: ‘You broke up with me, so I’m going to tell everybody that you did this, this and this.’ What grown-up does that?” Fickell said. “They responded with a junior-high comeback. I was shocked. Shocked. That if somebody said something about you, that you would then respond back by trying to bash a 19-year-old on things that were hearsay?

“It sounds a little bit like ‘A Few Good Men.’ Yeah, he was on the first flight out the next morning. That’s why I’m pissed and I want to say something. For you to get in a junior-high battle and say things about a kid, whether you believe him or not, you’re taking shots a kid who is struggling. And who am I to say how much? But he’s struggling, and to say that, it hurt the kid. Big time. It was hard. I know a lot of this stuff should be done behind closed doors, and I’m not calling people out. But when they took a shot at the kid, it was really disappointing. Really disappointing.”

“All the power is in the hands of the school a player is leaving. If they want to help, they can help them become eligible,” he said.

When contacted, Sean Magee, Michigan’s director of player personnel and administration for football, says what Fickell is accusing Harbaugh and Michigan of is a lie.

“It’s simply not true,” he said. “This had nothing to do with James as an individual, but again, we weren’t putting ourselves in position over the NCAA to judge who gets a waiver or not. If you look around the country and reasons why stories like this are so prevalent, the NCAA hasn’t shown to this point what the direct precedent is. If people are looking for precedence, you aren’t going to find it.”

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