A Michigan defensive lineman said that new head coach Jim Harbaugh pressured him to end his college football career early.
Ondre Pipkins, who was set to start his senior season with the Wolverines, told ESPN.com's Joe Schad in a story published Friday that Harbaugh and members of the program's medical staff have repeatedly asked him to sign a form that would place him on medical scholarship, allowing him to finish his education but no longer allowing him to play football. This after a knee injury that Pipkins said he is fully recovered from.
The move would have freed up a scholarship for another player, and Pipkins said he believes that was Harbaugh's intent.
Pipkins would not sign the form and is instead planning to transfer from Michigan.
"I feel bad I wasn't able to complete this journey with my classmates," Pipkins told ESPN. "I feel I am healthy and without pain. I believe Michigan wanted to free up the scholarship. I felt I was practicing well and could compete at a high level at the nose tackle and tackle positions."
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Doctors initially told Pipkins that he would be able to keep playing, but that changed, as the recommendation became that he rest for six months. Pipkins did practice this spring with the Wolverines, though he suffered a concussion. After being cleared to resume activity, he said he was constantly pressured, pulled from a workout and told he could no longer work out with teammates.
Harbaugh released this statement to ESPN:
"After consulting with our medical team, we do not think it is in Ondre's best interest as it relates to his health and welfare to play football, short or long term. He remains on full scholarship and counts toward the 85 scholarship limit in pursuit of graduation from the University of Michigan."
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But Pipkins believes he's healthy enough to play and that Harbaugh hasn't been treating him fairly.
"I feel I'm healthy and ready to play," Pipkins said. "I don't want to sign the form. I wanted to play for my seniors and for the team. coach Harbaugh said, 'I recommend you take the medical.'
"College football is a business. New coaches have to win games. They want to go with guys they think can win. If I'm a victim of making room, so be it. But if there is no concrete reason to disqualify a player. He should have the right to keep playing."