While negotiations between Michigan and Jim Harbaugh over a contract extension continue, indications indicate that one key sticking point remains.

It is not immediately related to the money side of things.

According to a Tuesday morning story from Yahoo! Sports, Harbaugh is seeking wording in his new, lucrative contract that would spell out any sanctions and effectively guarantee him protection from firing in the wake of the forthcoming NCAA investigations into his team.

According to Dan Wetzel, the author of the report: “He is also seeking to have any decision involving ‘for-cause’ termination — whether for NCAA violations or anything else — to be determined by a three-member arbitration panel rather than the school’s athletic director, a role currently held by Warde Manuel.”

The announcement comes as Harbaugh considers a long-term agreement that would make him the highest-paid coach in college football, according to Wetzel. He spoke with the Los Angeles Chargers on Monday for their head-coaching position and just signed high-profile agent Don Yee to help him negotiate NFL interest.

Michigan, while coming off an undefeated 15-0 season that ended with a College Football Playoff national title, remains under the watchful eye of the NCAA. The program has been charged with multiple Level II violations pertaining to impermissible recruiting and improper use of coaches, while Harbaugh himself faces a Level I violation for allegedly misleading investigators.

Meanwhile, the NCAA remains in the early stages of probing an alleged in-person scouting ring that violated rules and prompted the Big Ten to step in and suspend Harbaugh for three games in mid-November, claiming the Michigan football team violated the league’s sportsmanship policy.

Under Harbaugh’s existing five-year deal with Michigan — which entered Year 3 last week — he can fired if the coach or program is found in violation of Big Ten or NCAA governing rules and placed on probation, docked scholarships, forced to forfeit games or required to pay a fine.

According to Yahoo! Sports, Harbaugh is also seeking a delay in the start of the new contract — Feb. 15, to allow him additional time to mull NFL interest. The buyout in his current deal dropped from $2.25 million to $1.5 million last Thursday, Jan. 11.

Harbaugh has dodged questions about his future and the NFL in recent weeks, telling reporters he had a “one-track mind” that was focused on bringing Michigan a national title. He previously coached the San Francisco 49ers from 2011 to ‘14, compiling a 44-19-1 record while taking the franchise to three NFC championship games and Super Bowl XLVII.

Michigan football greet fans as national champions at Crisler Center

Since returning to his alma mater, Harbaugh is 86-25 and 60-17 in Big Ten play, winning three Big Ten championships and a national title. After the win over Washington last Monday, Harbaugh said his team “stood strong and tall because we knew we were innocent. And I’d like to point that out.”

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