ANN ARBOR, Mich. – In case you haven’t heard, Michigan's football team will be traveling to Rome this year for a weeklong football-educational trip.
And just moments after U-M’s second annual recruiting event, “Signing with the Stars,” Michigan coach Jim Harabugh addressed a strong media contingent on his latest plan for his football team.
Though, he specified, it won’t be during spring break in response to the NCAA’s recent ban on spring break trips.
“We’re not going through spring break,” Harbaugh said, who took his team to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. during spring break in 2016. “We’re going at the end of the term. So it’s compliant with all rules or new rules that have been made.”
The plan, Harbaugh says, is to leave for Rome on April 22 and come back on April 30. Which, of course, gives Michigan players roughly a week to soak in Rome and beyond, in what Harbaugh is calling an “unbelievable opportunity” for his players to study abroad.
“And let’s talk about what mainly it is, it’s an unbelievable opportunity for all of us, the youngsters-adults alike to have an educational opportunity to connect with people from another country.,” Harbaugh said.
“Most of all our players are going to have that opportunity to study abroad, do internships, do service. We’re going to Italy; we’re going to be there for a week. We’re going to practice. But from there our players are going to be able to branch out all over the world.”
Harbaugh says he expects his players to visit Iceland, Belgium, Japan, Israel, South America and Puerto Rico, among potential study destinations.
And, well, he doesn’t expect this to be a one-time international trip for his program. No, he has his world travels agenda planned out for the upcoming years to come.
“I envision annual,” Harbaugh said. “I got my places planned for year two, year three, year four.
“This is all centered around study abroad,” Harbaugh said. “That we’re going to give all our players off the month of May to pursue their study abroad. I thought that was a good center spot. Year two I want to go to South Africa. Year three I want to Japan. Year four I want to go to Israel. Year five, not totaly determined yet, but New Zealand or London, one of those two. The possibilities are limitless and the educational opportunity for our players is to the moon. So that’s where we want to go.”
And if you’re guessing how Michigan paid for this trip, well, Harbaugh answered that question too.
“It was one person, one person has donated to make this happen,” Harbaugh said. “He hasn’t given me the clearance yet to say who that was, but what an incredible guy. What an incredible supporter. What an incredible Michigan man.”