Michigan football is taking another off-campus practice trip before the “Harbaugh Rule” goes into effect, this time overseas.
The Wolverines announced Monday they would spend a week of spring practice in Rome, Italy. The trip will be “a week of education and spring drills” in April. This is the last year such a trip will be allowed after new legislation passed at the NCAA convention last week.
We are headed to Rome for a week of education and spring drills.
— Michigan Football (@UMichFootball) January 23, 2017
Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh took the team on a similar trip to Florida in 2016. SEC programs were especially upset at Harbaugh’s strategy of coming into their back yard to extend Michigan’s reach in recruiting.
The trip prompted the Power 5 to pass the “Harbaugh Rule.” The new legislation will prevent teams from practicing off-campus during designated vacation periods in the offseason. But it won’t go into effect until next spring.
As Bleacher Report’s Michael Felder points out, the trip will take place after the end of Michigan’s winter semester. So while it would still not be permissible next year under the new rule, it will not be a spring break trip.
Michigan's semester ends 4/18. So proposed trip is not on spring break, it's after semester. Thanks to @ShawnLMartin for pointing that out
— Michael Felder (@InTheBleachers) January 23, 2017
The Wolverines won’t be practicing on the same campus as some of the nation’s top recruits, like they did at IMG Academy last year. But a trip to Europe probably would have been a nice thing to mention in recruiting pitches.
“We were looking to provide our student-athletes with a great educational, cultural and international football experience,” Harbaugh said in a statement from Michigan athletics. “I am excited that our student-athletes will be able to take advantage of this amazing educational opportunity, be exposed to another culture, and be ambassadors for the United States and the University of Michigan during our visit to Rome.”