Michigan Football to Take Spring Practice to Rome

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Michigan's spring trip to Rome is official.

The football program announced Monday that it'll travel to Italy for a week of spring practice "after finals toward the end of winter semester in April." The Wolverines will conduct three of their 15 allotted spring practices overseas, working out at the facilities of the AS Roma soccer club.

The trip will have educational components, touring the city, meeting with U.S. military and visiting orphanages. The experience will culminate with a youth clinic, and the team will play a scrimmage that will be open to the Italian public.

Michigan's final exams are scheduled for April 20-21 and April 24-27, so the Wolverines likely will depart after that.

"We were looking to provide our student-athletes with a great educational, cultural and international football experience," coach Jim Harbaugh said in a release. "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."

Harbaugh began the spring practice traveling trend last year when he took the Wolverines to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., over spring break. Michigan practiced four times in a five-day span, with the last one open to the public. But the backlash was fierce. Coaches and administrators, especially in the Southeast, complained loudly about Michigan's trip.

The NCAA passed a measure last week eliminating trips during break periods, and many have described it as "The Harbaugh Rule."

Snyder writes for the Detroit Free Press, part of the USA TODAY Network.

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January 24, 2017


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