By Will Burchfield
You’ve heard the story by now: Hawaii football coach Nick Rolovich asked Michigan for a look at their practice film to even the playing field before Saturday’s game. Michigan said no.
On Thursday morning, Jim Harbaugh told 97.1 The Ticket’s morning show that he was never involved in such a discussion.
“First of all, I don’t know anything about it. I don’t know anything about any requests for scrimmage tape or practice tape. Somebody mentioned that, but no, not aware of any request that University of Hawaii made for practice tape or scrimmage tape,” Harbaugh said.
At the time, it seemed like the coach was feigning ignorance, hoping to downplay a mini controversy.
Turns out, Harbaugh was playing it straight. It was Rolovich who was stretching the truth.
“This has taken on a life of its own, I need to watch what I say I think,” Rolovich told ESPN Radio’s Russillo and Kanell show. “I was actually just joking that I think it’d be fair if they sent us some practice film, some scrimmage film, I think that’d be fair. But it kind of blew up from there. There was never any real interaction or discussion of this.”
Rolovich later apologized for the confusion, explaining the story gained legs during his team’s flight to Michigan.
“I mean we’re on a 10-hour plane and it all happened when we were on the plane and it kind of took off from there.
“But I enjoy coach Harbaugh when we had his satellite camps and we got along great. I think be brings some life, some extra life, to college football,” Rolovich said.
While Rolovich doused Tape-gate, he fanned the flames of a potential quarterback duel between he and Harbaugh. The idea was spawned when Rolovich saw a ranking of the best college coaches as determined by their playing careers. Harbaugh came in at number one.
“So I challenged him to a pregame quarterback challenge before we played and I guess he recently accepted,” Rolovich said. “So I did some push-ups on the plane trying to get ready, trying to get in shape, but it’s just all in fun right now. Who knows what’s going to happen.”
Rolovich said the matchup is scheduled to take place in the Big House before Hawaii and Michigan kick off at noon – pending NCAA approval, of course.
“I’m the visitor so I just gotta show up and play if it’s there. I think it might happen. Now I’m hearing rumblings that the NCAA might be all over this, I don’t know if this is legal. I remember playing for a month paycheck but I’m not sure,” he said.
For what it’s worth, Harbaugh makes about $580,000 per month while Rolovich makes around $33,000.
Just like his team – 40-point underdogs against Michigan – it sounds like Rolovich has nothing to lose.