Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh confirmed on National Signing Day that the Wolverines will spend the first week of their spring practice schedule in Florida at IMG Academy.
The SEC hopes to stop it.
SEC commissioner Greg Sankey told CBS Sports that the league has reached out to the NCAA in hopes that the governing body will not allow teams to practice during a school’s spring break. Michigan currently plans to hold four practices at IMG Academy – one of the top high school programs in the country – while the rest of the UM student body is on break from class from Feb. 27 to March 6.
“Our plans for spring football are to go to Florida our first week while the university here is on spring break,” Harbaugh said last week. “We’ll go to Florida and have four practices down there. We’re going to work hard but we’ll have fun doing it.”
Sankey, while not directly mentioning Michigan by name, said the premise of the SEC’s sentiment in reaching out to the NCAA is the issue of free time for student athletes.
“Our primary reaction (is) that, in the face of the time-demand conversations, we’ve got one program taking what has been ‘free time’ away. Let’s draw a line and say, ‘That’s not appropriate,’” Sankey told CBS.
The NCAA is looking into the manner, but a decision may not be reached before UM’s planned trip.
There is currently no NCAA rule prohibiting such a move.
One high-ranking source told CBS Sports that an effort similar to Michigan's will most likely be prohibited in the near future but a decision is not expected to be handed down in time to prevent the planned trip to Florida.
Time demands for college football players have been a topic of conversation for the NCAA in recent months.
Time demands were the focus of last month's NCAA Convention; however, several proposals were tabled for study. Specifically, the SEC has asked the newly formed NCAA Football Oversight Committee to address the issue “as soon as possible,” according to Sankey.
“We'll see how people react,” he said.
In general, FBS players are allowed a maximum of four weeks off per year when they aren't accountable to the program. Going to Florida would account for one of those weeks. Preliminary indications are that Michigan would conduct its four practices at IMG on Feb. 29, March 1 and March 3-4.
Additionally, there are obvious recruiting benefits for Michigan to hold its practices at IMG Academy, which is located in Bradenton, Florida. IMG is home to some of the top prospects in the country, including linebacker Dylan Moses and defensive end Josh Kaindoh. Both are rated as top five recruits in the 2017 class by Rivals.com. IMG also has 11 four-star recruits and four three-star recruits in the 2017 class.
Michigan previously ruffled some feathers by holding satellite camps across the country, including Florida and Alabama.
The Wolverines landed the fourth-best class in the country for the 2016 cycle, including the No. 1 overall player, Rashan Gary.
For more Michigan news, visit TheWolverine.com.
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