If Forde would have spent any time thinking about the explanation offered by Conway-Perrin, he'd recognize that General Studies makes sense for athletes who have an extremely time-consuming sports demand because it has no language requirement (language classes tend to be the most time-intensive and inflexible in terms of scheduling) and it presents fewer schedule issues. For instance, certain majors might require a class that is only taught at a certain time that wouldn't work for a football player. The overall point is that General Studies majors take as many or more upper level classes as students with specific majors, so Harbaugh's point that students come out of Michigan unprepared is bunk. Forde deserves credit for putting out the facts that support Michigan's position, but then he draws conclusions that are at odds with the facts that he printed. And the closing line about Michigan being defensive is ludicrous. Harbaugh made very serious charges about Michigan exploiting its athletes. Maybe a commuter school (such as Forde's beloved Louisville) wouldn't take that seriously, but Michigan's harsh response to Harbaugh is understandable given that the school takes its academic reputation pretty seriously.
This quote from Harbaugh is also weak:
"I learned from a great man named Bo Schembechler that you speak the truth as you know it. It may not be the popular thing, but you speak your mind. Everything I said is supported by fact, but the thing that has come back is the personal attack on me, not looking at the issue whatsoever."
I apologize in advance for making a Mandelian unprovable assertion, but there is no way in hell that Harbaugh would be saying these things while Bo was still alive because the old coach would not be especially pleased. The fact that Harbaugh said nothing about Michigan's alleged corner-cutting academically until he got a head coaching gig at a I-A program detracts from his credibility. If he was genuinely concerned about the fate of Michigan players, then why didn't he say anything until he landed a position in which he will likely be competing with Michigan in at least a few recruiting battles. The fact that Harbaugh was passed over for a position as the quarterbacks coach at Michigan in 2002 when Scott Loeffler was given a full-time position might also seem germane to Harbaugh's motivations in attacking his alma mater.
Harbaugh's narrative is also wildly inconsistent. He lauds Schebechler left and right, but his original criticism was that: (1) he was steered away from a history major when he was at Michigan; and (2) Michigan doesn't take care of its players after they leave. These are criticisms of the program as it was run under Schembechler. Is it too much to ask Pat Forde to actually ask these questions of Harbaugh as opposed to using his column space to repeat everything that Jim says? Or was Pat expecting Michigan to do all of his work for him and was let down when Michigan wouldn't take part in the argument (except to make ad hominem attacks through Lloyd Carr and Mike Hart, which Forde is right to point out skirt the issue).
[Update: Forde botched his criticism of Michigan for having too many undeclared juniors, as he was looking at a previous media guide. The "juniors" in question were sophomores at the time and all but two have since declared majors. I'll look forward to Forde's correction...never.]