Harbaugh Weekly: Spelling-challenged $10 million man. At least he's a Cub fan.

Another uneventful week for Jim Harbaugh:

Gould Headshot square

@ He went to the Cubs game in Chicago on Sunday with his mitt and his dad. Wearing his Cubs gear—he threw out a first pitch at Wrigley last summer with his mitt and his spikes—Harbaugh saw the Cubs, facing elimination in the World Series, break their two-game losing streak and win Game 5.

Too bad the Cubs can’t bring him along to Cleveland as a good-luck charm. Or maybe they can.

@ Harbaugh’s many strengths do not include spelling.

After Michigan had defeated struggling Michigan State by a surprisingly narrow 32-23, he said, ``Any time you lose, it’s the agony of defeat. Any time you win, it’s the great thrill of victory, and the wonderful feeling of winning. That’s just a fact of business. Fact. F-A-C-K. Fact.’’

He quickly corrected himself.

``What did I say? F-A-C-T. Correction! I stand corrected. F-A-C-T.’’

It could have been worse.

He could have screwed up the vowel.

@ The real Harbaugh news of the week was his eye-popping, bank-breaking salary.[membership level="0"] The rest of this article is available to subscribers only - to become a subscriber click here.[/membership] [membership]

Harbaugh will ``earn’’ $9.004 million this year, and bonuses of $1.325 million could push him over the $10 million mark, USA Today reported.

Coming in second was five-time national champion Nick Saban ($6.9 million, plus bonuses of up to $700,000), followed by three-time national champion Urban Meyer ($6.094 million, plus bonuses of up to $775,000).

And when Harbaugh wins his first national championship, he’ll have leverage to renegotiate.

These kinds of obscene salary announcements tend to give me two very conflicted reactions: On the one hand, I’m appalled that anybody—whether an athlete, an entertainer, business monopolist or Wall Street tycoon—can earn that kind of outrageous fortune. And I always hope they pay commensurate taxes to pay back the society that makes their success possible. Although I'm sure they don't.

On the other hand, Harbaugh is worth it. These major college-football juggernauts are huge corporate entities that generate massive amounts of income. Like hundreds of millions.

So pardon my populist whining.

Let’s do the numbers, courtesy of my former Sun-Times colleague, longtime USA Today sportster Steve Berkowitz.

Harbaugh’s basic compensation is $5 million—$500,000 in base salary and $4.5 million for broadcasting activities, promotional work and endorsements. Universities like to break things down that way so the disparity between the salary of the football coach and the professor who brings the world closer to, say, a cure for cancer, doesn’t look as wide.

Michigan also is making a series of $2 million payments on life-insurance policies that Harbaugh owns. A pair of those will bring Harbaugh’s compensation to $9 million this year, the report said. But honestly, the details are too complicated for me, and probably too complicated for a guy who got tripped up spelling F-A-C-T.

I’m guessing Harbaugh’s people handled this stuff.

And, then, of course, there are the incentive bonuses.

+ $125,000 if Michigan plays in the Big Ten championship game.

+ $125,000 if Michigan wins the Big Ten championship game.

+ $300,000 if Michigan is one of the four teams to reach the College Football Playoff.

+ $300,000 if Michigan wins its CFP semi-final.

+ $500,000 if Michigan wins the national championship.

+ $50,000 if Harbaugh is voted Big Ten coach of the year by his peers.

+ $75,000 if Harbaugh wins any of the six national coach-of-the-year awards.

+ Up to $150,000 based on the team’s academic performance.

That adds up to a possible $1.625 million in bonuses.

Priceless: The Chicago Sun-Times money clip
Priceless: The Chicago Sun-Times money clip

Compare with. . . my 30-year service award at the Sun-Times—a $300 gift certificate at Macy’s.

That’s $10 a year. I did the math there, too.

More cherished, though, was my five-year service award from the Sun-Times—a money clip with an engraving of the Sun-Times Building, which was later torn down to make way for Chicago’s Trump Tower.
I’ve always been amused by the irony of giving a newspaper man a money clip. That was a sure-fire laugh producer when I pulled it out to buy a round of drinks at the Goat—the Billy Goat Tavern.

I'm guessing a money clip is something Harbaugh could put to better use.[/membership]