Report: Jim Harbaugh, Michigan violated NCAA rules by having analyst work as on-field coach
Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan program appears to have violated NCAA coaching staff rules this past spring.
A lengthy report by Rainer Sabin of the Detriot Free Press documents how a Wolverines analyst was giving on-field instruction in spring practice. Ryan Osborn, a former grad assistant at Florida, is listed as an analyst on the Michigan team site. NCAA rules state that only 15 coaches can provide on-field instruction (Harbaugh, 10 on-field assistants, 4 graduate assistants).
Sabin points to an April quote from edge defender Taylor Upshaw.
“The reality is (defensive line coach Shaun) Nua is more like a D-tackles coach right now,” Upshaw told reporters. “Coach Osborn is really our main guy. He knows what he’s talking about. He’s a good coach. You can tell just with his passion and the things he’s getting us right with our technique.”
Two other anonymous Wolverines players discussed Osborn with the Free Press.
“Coach Nua and Coach Oz, it’s interchangeable…They are interchangeable, man. They serve the same purpose. They’re both coaches. Nobody is doing more or less,” one player said.
Harbaugh acknowledged last Friday that Osborn overstepped his role as an analyst.
“We’ve addressed that,” Harbaugh said. “Like, early spring, I was coaching the quarterbacks and it’s my job to be on that and make sure a guy is not over-coaching his position. Ryan Osborn is an analyst; he has got to do analyst duties. That correction has been made. We’re all on top of it. Myself included. Once we became aware of that, put a stop to it. …Now they know, they know what the assignments are. That happened very early in spring ball.”
Sabin points out that Michigan began spring practice on Feb. 25 and Upshaw’s comments calling Osborn a coach came on April 5, days after the conclusion of the spring period.
A recent Michigan defensive commitment also talked about how Osborn was in communication with him saying “how he was going to use me and how I fit their defense” “… because he will be to be one of my coaches — him and Coach Nua.”
Sabin’s article goes on to point out how Harbaugh has previously presented himself as a stickler for following the rules who has not been shy about calling out other programs. UM did not provide Sabin a direct answer when asked if it had self-reported the violation of Osborn serving as an on-field instructor.
Osborn left the Florida staff after the 2019 season, thanking Dan Mullen for hiring him at Mississippi State in 2016. After one season as defensive line coach at UT Martin, Osborn joined the Michigan staff. Sabin mentions that Harbaugh brought in Osborn after Michigan was unable to hire away Florida linebackers coach Christian Robinson.