Report: UM football planning Rome trip to practice, tour sites

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News
Jim Harbaugh

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh has made plenty of bold maneuvers in just more than two seasons coaching his alma mater, but this one might be at the top.

Harbaugh is planning to take the Wolverines on an excursion to Rome, Italy, this spring, reported Friday. During this trip, the Wolverines will practice and tour the sites, much like college basketball programs have done for years.

Plans have not yet been finalized and not officially announced.

Spring practice is expected to be pushed back to accommodate this plan, which would include football and an educational experience.

Last year, Harbaugh stunned the college football world by taking the Wolverines to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., to hold four spring practices and also to have some down time as a team together over spring break.

Spring break is expected to be preserved this year and some Michigan players have already made vacation plans.

A proposal to prohibit off-campus practice during a vacation period – like Michigan football’s trip to IMG Academy – was passed Friday by the NCAA’s Power Five conferences at the annual convention.

UM’s Manuel knocks vote to ban spring break practices

The ban will go into effect this August.

But a football team heading to Europe? This is a new thing.

Basketball programs frequently make trips to Europe. NCAA rules allow a team to take a foreign trip every four years. The Michigan basketball team has made recent trips to Europe – in 2014 to Italy and in 2010 to Belgium, Amsterdam and Paris.

Many basketball coaches have said that these trips that include sightseeing and playing games against European teams go a long way toward developing camaraderie in a young team.