According to a report by Joe Schad of ESPN, Michigan defensive lineman Ondre Pipkins was told by new coach Jim Harbaugh, as well as head athletic trainer Paul Schmidt and associate athletic director Jim Minick, to quit the team even though he deemed himself healthy to move forward and play.
Pipkins said that the Michigan staff harassed and pressured him into signing a medical scholarship form. As a senior, Pipkins wanted to go out on his own terms.
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“I feel I’m healthy and ready to play,” said Pipkins, who played last season after he was cleared to return from a torn knee ligament. “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.'”
Pipkins said he felt constant pressure to retire.
“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.”
Harbaugh said that after consulting with Michigan’s medical team, Pipkins should no longer play and released a statement to ESPN on Friday saying “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.”
Pipkins would have remained on scholarship and be counted toward the 85-scholarship limit. But if Pipkins signed a medical scholarship form, it would free up a scholarship for the Wolverines. Pipkins is adamant he can play and will now look to transfer begrudgingly .