First off, thanks to the guys at for bringing to our attention that last week the Chron wrote a story about how Stanfurd athletics bitches about its academic standards.

Secondly, we pretty much agree with thebandisoutonthefield’s argument: good academics shouldn’t be a hindrance to building a good sports program—it should help it.

This is where new Stanfurd football coach Jim Harbaugh comes in. In interviews in the last week or so, he has used the school’s academic excellence as a crutch to explain why Cardinal football has been so bad the last half decade.

In addition to that, Harbaugh is accusing other schools of lowering their academic standards for easier recruiting tactics.

In an interview with the San Francisco Examiner, Harbaugh accused his alma mater, Michigan, for doing so with its football team.

bq. “Michigan is a good school and I got a good education there,” he said, “but the athletic department has ways to get borderline guys in and, when they’re in, they steer them to courses in sports communications. They’re adulated when they’re playing, but when they get out, the people who adulated them won’t hire them.”

But it doesn’t end there. The Stanford Daily did a telephone interview with Harbaugh, offering softball questions to the first-year head coach.

bq. TSD: I see most schools across college football selling out in order to win. … You mentioned Michigan, but a lot of Stanford fans would say that’s the route Cal used to turn its program around. What do you think? Do Stanford and Cal differ in terms of how they prioritize academics and football?

bq. JH: I don’t think there’s any doubt about it. It’s a pretty wide gap. Right now, Stanford is No. 1 in the country at 92 percent graduation, and Cal’s at 44 percent. So, I’d say they’re cutting some corners.

bq. Stanford embodies the highest standards, really the character of the school, because they won’t cut the corners to get athletes, especially in basketball and football. It’s an interesting stat of all athletic departments in the country. Stanford’s SAT score is the highest in the nation, and the second-place school is 200 points below Stanford.

We don’t need to talk about how much of an ass that makes Harbaugh sound. And all it does is fuel the rivalry, and trust us, Cal fans, players and coaches don’t need anymore fuel for the fire.

Captain Comeback (that was Harbaugh’s nickname when he was a mediocre quarterback in the NFL) needs to get his facts right and stop citing reports that uses data for kids who were recruited in 1996-1999.

And FYI, those recruits brought the Bears one of their worst four year stretches ever, ending in that 1-10 season before Jeff Tedford became the head coach.

But of course, we guess Harbaugh’s just doing his job to get the Indians some sort of swagger heading into this season. Let’s face it, the cockiness and uber-ego that Harbaugh has wasn’t present in Stanfurd since before the turn of the century.

And it is a good fit. Stanfurd needs a pompous ass like Harbaugh to lead its really bad football team. Just look at what he said concerning his statements about Pete Carroll a few months ago.

bq. I definitely said that. But we bow to no man, we bow to no program here at Stanford University.

Get ready to bow to the rest of the Pac-10, Jim. It’s going to be a long season if you can’t keep your mouth wired shut.

Feeling bad for Stanford [The Band Is Out On the Field]
Harbaugh can resurrect the Cardinal [Examiner]
Harbaugh touts Stanford’s fall potential [Stanford Daily]
Harbaugh shows that he’s been taught well by Ditka [CC Times]
Golden Bears’ Academic Record is Better than Stats Suggest [North Gate News]

California Pete '89 said:
Jun 9, 2007 at 8:24 pm

Add the following to further correct the record: Cal football’s academic standards have improved and increased—dramatically—under Tedford. Harbaugh and Co. would do well to emulate the current Cal program, off the field as well as on.

Go Bears!!

Greg said:
Jul 9, 2007 at 10:57 am

While I think Harbaugh should keep his mouth shut and focus on his own problems, let’s be honest: there has been a large number of Juco transfers here recently.