OSU’s Smith, Michigan’s Harbaugh Trade Barbs

Ann Arbor, Mi. Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith made headlines on Tuesday when he called out Michigan’s program and Coach Jim Harbaugh for taking his team to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida over spring break.

When asked about Harbaugh taking his team to Florida for spring practice, Smith quipped, “If we were jump starting our program, I’d probably try that too.”

Smith’s comment proceeded to make national news, and they came to the attention of Harbaugh, who wasted no time firing back via Twitter. Harbaugh, who has repeatedly used the social media platform to respond to colleagues and media members, tweeted, “Good to see Director Smith being relevant again after the tattoo fiasco. Welcome back!”

In the end, it was Harbaugh’s rebuttal that took center stage. Gene Smith’s Wikipedia page was updated to read, following his introduction, “He (Smith) was murdered by Jim Harbaugh via twitter on March 22, 2016.”

Harbaugh has been no stranger to expressing his sentiments through Twitter since his hiring last December. Harbaugh called out Colin Cowherd for poor interview questions following an awkward radio exchange last summer.

Just last month Harbaugh took to Twitter to request that his “Rocky Top Colleague,” Tennessee Coach Butch Jones, focus on his on his own team. Jones had been open about his disapproval of Harbaugh’s spring practices in Florida despite the fact that Tennessee Football has been mired in allegations regarding a sexual misconduct lawsuit.

The Twitter battle continued even after Harbaugh’s tweet. Former Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott, who just declared for the NFL Draft, tweeted at Harbaugh a picture of himself following a touchdown in Michigan Stadium. Elliot captioned the photo “Welcome to the big house coach. Better luck next time.”

Following today’s back and forth there is no doubt next season’s matchup between Ohio State and Michigan will be highly anticipated. The rivalry has lacked excitement in recent seasons, but the leadup to “The Game” this year is already getting started. And judging from today’s remarks, don’t expect either side to back down.


-Will McCormack