Kirby Smart has only been “the Georgia coach” for a couple months, and he’s already managed to find himself in a public spat with Jim Harbaugh.
Even if the Michigan coach may be misreading what Smart said.
Harbaugh tweeted this on Wednesday afternoon:
If the Georgia coach is implying any intent on our part to break rules, he is barking up the wrong tree.
— Coach Harbaugh (@CoachJim4UM) February 24, 2016
It all started earlier this month when Harbaugh, entering his second year as Michigan’s head coach, revealed plans to try to hold a spring practice in Florida. It was met with public opposition by SEC commissioner Greg Sankey.
Smart was then asked about it by a fan on Monday night at the Macon Touchdown Club.
“They’re obviously trying to gain a competitive advantage and that’s their right,” Smart said. “But I think the NCAA in due time will have to step in.”
In Smart’s defense, he never said – as Harbaugh implied – that Michigan had any intent to break rules. Here were the rest of Smart’s comments:
“There’s a lot of factors that people don’t think about in that deal,” Smart said. “You’ve gotta think about recruiting rules, how are they going to handle those, is it an advantage, disadvantage? Are they gonna let other coaches come to it, are they gonna hold open practices? Do we all come in there and watch them and scout them? If they’re all open practices why don’t we go and watch them. It’s a Pandora’s Box of what it’s going to get into, obviously.”
Harbaugh may have read the comments and felt Smart was implying that Michigan was trying to break any rules. But that wasn’t the tone of Smart’s comments, at least to this reporter who was in the room.