Michigan Player Accuses Jim Harbaugh Of Pressuring Him To Take Medical Redshirt

By Ty Duffy
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Michigan Wolverines DT Ondre Pipkins accused Jim Harbaugh and Michigan’s staff of running him out of the program by forcing him to take accept a medical redshirt. From ESPN.com

"I feel I’m healthy and ready to play,” said Pipkins, who played last season after he was cleared to return from a torn knee ligament. “I don’t want to sign the form. I wanted to play for my seniors and for the team. Coach Harbaugh said, ‘I recommend you take the medical.'”"

ESPN obtained the following statement from Michigan in response.

"“After consulting with our medical team, we do not think it is in Ondre’s best interest as it relates to his health and welfare to play football, short or long term,” Harbaugh said in a statement given to ESPN on Friday. “He remains on full scholarship and counts toward the 85 scholarship limit in pursuit of graduation from the University of Michigan.”"

Pipkins was a top recruit in Brady Hoke’s 2012 class. He suffered a neck injury before his freshman year. He tore his ACL against Minnesota in October of his sophomore year in 2013 (see picture above). Brady Hoke didn’t talk about injuries as he struggled over his junior year, appearing in six games.

The medical truth lies somewhere in this nebulous paragraph from the ESPN report.

"Pipkins said doctors initially told him he has some arthritis in the knee but that he should not be disqualified from competition. But as pressure continued from others within the program to sign the medical form, he was sent by Michigan back to his knee surgeon who then recommended he rest his body for six months."

What’s not clear is why Michigan would have needed the scholarship. They appear to be on track for 85 players in 2015. Pipkins was a senior, so his departure doesn’t clear room for the 2016 recruiting class.

Regardless, the cost of Michigan having a successful football program will be operating like a successful football program. Michigan fans will have to dispense with the myth they are any more moral than anywhere else, if that still existed after Brendan Gibbons.

[Photo via USAT]

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