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After taking a free agent QB, Jim Harbaugh warns of college football free agency

Michigan is in France at the moment, and leave it to Jim Harbaugh to make news from across the pond.

The Wolverines got season-saving news late last week when the NCAA approved Shea Patterson for immediate eligibility this fall after leaving Ole Miss in January. Harbaugh was asked for his thoughts on the NCAA's transfer policy. Here's what he told the Detroit News:

“Most college students or football players, you go through at least one time where you say, ‘I’m leaving, I’m quitting, I’m going to go somewhere else, think the grass is greener on the other side of the street,’”

“Maybe things got a little tough, maybe things got a little hard. It’s usually better to stick it out, it’s usually better to stay at the place you are and see something through. I don’t think we want to send the message in college football if it’s not working out, or if it’s getting tough or hard, go somewhere else.”

Harbaugh also offered putative measures for schools that accept transfers. The comment comes as the NCAA is actively working to give schools less control over where their players transfer.

“There’s gotta be something,” Harbaugh said. “Maybe the school pays back the other school. Say a school like Michigan gets a player from Eastern Michigan or Central Michigan or transfers, maybe you have to pay the scholarship back or maybe it counts as an extra scholarship. Just so it doesn't become free agency in college football. That's the thing I would worry about.”

Data shows that around 12 percent of FBS players transfer, a number that is slightly down from 2004. It's also around a third of the transfer rate of the general student population -- 37.2 percent.

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Harbaugh's comments are straight up ironic considering his own history with the issue. No one was more aggressive in recruiting Ole Miss players after the Rebels were hit with a bowl ban in December than Harbaugh himself.

Harbaugh landed Patterson, a former 5-star quarterback who will be immediately eligible to play this fall and, potentially, transform a critical Year 4 for Coach Khakis in Ann Arbor. Patterson didn't graduate and his family didn't suffer a medical hardship. The grass beneath his feet wilted, and he wanted to go somewhere else.

I assume Ole Miss AD Ross Bjork would take a maize and blue donation to repay the cost of Patterson's scholarship, but no offer has been made as of yet.