Last week, a new NCAA rule went into place which unquestionably felt like a slap in the face of Jim Harbaugh. The rule stated that schools aren't allowed to practice off-campus during vacation periods when their specific sport isn't in session. While that doesn't seem like much, it seemed to be tied to Harbaugh's decision to bring his team to IMG Academy in Florida for spring break last year.
But with the new rule not set to go into effect until August, Harbaugh decided to take one last spring break romp, and this time it's bigger and better than ever before. The school announced Monday that they will visit Rome over their spring break period.
Rome. Yes, Rome! In Italy. If it were any other coach other than Harbaugh we wouldn't believe it. But instead it makes perfect sense. The school will practice at the facilities of the AC Roma soccer club and visit some historical landmarks.
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Here is what Harbaugh had to say about the trip in a statement released by the school:
"We were looking to provide our student-athletes with a great educational, cultural and international football experience. 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."
Meanwhile, AD Warde Manuel added the following:
"Over the past few decades student-athletes in other sports have had the opportunity to participate in international training trips to practice and prepare for the upcoming season. This is a tremendous opportunity for these young men to learn about and experience another culture, connect with the people of Italy, and showcase American football internationally. The University of Michigan has always encouraged our students to gain knowledge through international experiences, and we are so glad to provide them with this opportunity."
In an era where the general public is pushing for student-athletes to get more of a cut of the the NCAA cash machine, they could do a lot worse than a trip to Italy during spring break (some would argue they could do better too).
Regardless, credit to Harbaugh. If you're going to go out, go out with a bang. A trip to Italy for spring break certainly qualifies as that.