ACC commissioner John Swofford is the most recent critic of Michigan’s plan to host part of its spring practices in Florida during spring break week.
Swofford, similar to SEC commissioner Greg Sankey, took issue with taking time that would normally be off for student-athletes and forcing them to practice.
"As I told someone previously, it certainly is creative thinking but I do think it flies in the face of the whole national discussion of time demands," Swofford told ESPN.com. "When you start considering taking a spring break away from a student-athlete and requiring a practice session wherever that might be, if we’re trying to move the student-athlete experience back toward a more collegiate experience -- and it can’t be totally like other students that aren’t involved in intercollegiate athletics it’s understood -- that would not seem consistent with the overall discussions about time demands and the student-athlete experience that’s taking place right now. At least that’s one man’s opinion."
Of course no student-athletes have commented about this and Harbaugh hasn’t released his practice plan yet. So it’s totally possible that Harbaugh could be planning an epic spring break bonanza in the Florida sunshine under the guise of football practices. I mean, think about what we know about Harbaugh, the way he interacts with his players and some of his other antics. It’s hard to believe he’s going to spend the entire week being a drill sergeant to these players.
That said, critics could claim he’s not giving his players a chance to pick their own spring break destination. Flipside: He’s not giving them a chance to find unwanted trouble either (see Dak Prescott during spring break 2015). And there are probably quite a few players who wouldn't be able to afford a weeklong escape from Michigan in the spring.
Regardless of the massive sentiment against it — some for student athlete welfare and others for selfish recruiting reasons — there is no NCAA rule prohibiting Harbaugh’s action. This might end up being a great bonding experience for the Wolverines. They might spend their evenings holding hands around a bonfire, singing songs, telling each other deep dark secrets and doing trust-fall exercises.
And we in the media might all be recounting those moments from national championship media days in Tampa.
Then, Harbaugh is less of a spring break villain and more of a coaching genius.
Expect this and many of Harbaugh’s antics (satellite camps, National Signing Day extravaganzas) to be part of the talk this spring when leagues get together for their annual spring meetings.
For more Michigan news, visit TheWolverine.com.
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