By Ashley Scoby

Meritocracies, theoretically, dictate much of how the world works, and Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh says that philosophy applies in recruiting, too.

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His practices have been questioned recently, after two former Michigan commits (Erik Swenson and Rashad Weaver) publicly accused Michigan of not being totally committed to their scholarship offers. Swenson claimed his offer was pulled, while Weaver said that the staff had told him it was “50-50” he would be able to commit. National Signing day is on Wednesday, and Michigan’s class – ranked third in the country, according to 247Sports – has seen plenty of change since Harbaugh took over as head coach.

One 247Sports report indicated that Brian Cole, who was a receiver and then defensive back on last year’s Michigan team, had been released from the program, and that he was considering Kentucky, Pittsburgh, Arizona and Arizona State as potential landing spots.

Harbaugh spoke to reporters for the first time Friday about the accusations that he’s been unfair to high school athletes, as well as the Cole situation. He attended new athletic director (and former Michigan teammate) Warde Manuel’s introductory press conference.

Although he would not give details about Cole’s situation, he told reporters that Cole was still enrolled at Michigan.

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He also defended his recruiting practices.

“I’ll take you through the whole process, but it’s a meritocracy, and they’ve got to continue to perform when there’s early commitments, both in the classroom, on the field and as a citizen in the community,” Harbaugh said, according to the Detroit Free Press. “That’s what we demand.”

Jim Hackett also agreed with the process. He’s served as Michigan’s interim athletic department for the past year and a half, and was responsible for hiring Harbaugh.

“Michigan, Jim Harbaugh, Jim Hackett, Warde Manuel operate with total integrity, total transparency,” Hackett said, according to the Free Press. “So if a bad perception that we haven’t been transparent is out there, of course you’d get criticism, because that’s not what Michigan stands for.”

Hackett went on to explain multiple situations in which Michigan would be justified in pulling an athlete’s scholarship offer, including an inability to pass a physical, or lack of performance.

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Regardless of the swirling questions about best recruiting practices, Michigan is set to have a festive atmosphere on campus for Signing Day Wednesday. The school plans on enlisting several celebrities, including former Heisman Trophy winner Desmond Howard and wrestler Ric Flair, to announce the players who have signed.