Jim Harbaugh invites Obamas to Ann Arbor, eyes another trip to Europe for Michigan

Dr. Saturday
Jim Harbaugh already took his Michigan team to Italy. Now the team has other European destinations in mind. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Jim Harbaugh already took his Michigan team to Italy. Now the team has other European destinations in mind. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Jim Harbaugh has his sights set high for honorary captains at a Michigan game next season.

The Wolverines welcomed sports greats like Michael Jordan and Tom Brady to Michigan Stadium last year, but in 2017 UM is looking to the political world. Harbaugh told reporters at his quarterbacks camp in Ann Arbor Saturday that he plans to formally invite President Barack Obama, along with his wife, Michelle, to Ann Arbor.

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“We’re making those asks. Official asks,” Harbaugh said per TheWolverine.com. “There’s been ‘Hey, we’d like you to do it.’ But then we do an official ask.”

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Harbaugh has gotten to know the Obamas over the last few years and has worked with Michelle Obama’s “Reach Higher” educational campaign. Earlier this week, Harbaugh spent time in Washington D.C. speaking at a congressional hearing for the Legal Services Corporation, which he has been involved with. He spent time with President Obama while in D.C.

“I spent 39 wonderful minutes with President Obama. I saw Mrs. Obama as well. He was great. He was really relaxed. He’s working on a lot of things, a book, and several things that he shared. He shared a lot of insights. Great learning experience. We talked about the Legal Services Corporation,” Harbaugh said.

“The next morning to be walking the halls of Congress was amazing. We got a tour of the congressional offices and inner-workings. That was outstanding. I thought our hearing was very productive. It was a short trip, we were back in less than 24 hours, but it was a wonderful trip.”

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Despite being out of office, Harbaugh knows Obama is “a busy man,” so it won’t be the easiest thing to arrange. He’s still hopeful it could happen.

Harbaugh addressed a few other topics as well on Saturday. On the heels of the Wolverines’ trip to Rome, the coach revealed that the team took a “straw poll” on potential destinations for next year. Tentatively, Harbaugh said the program is looking into a trip to Paris, Normandy and London.

“Rome was great, there was so much to see,” Harbaugh said. “One of the things we thought about after the trip was to go to multiple places, not just stay in one place. There was so much to see in Rome. It was unbelievable. There is in Paris but we’re there to see Paris, Normandy and London what we’re striving for.”

Harbaugh said the team would hope to hold its practices in both Paris and London, if possible.

The Rome trip featured three practice sessions, but was mostly an educational week of sightseeing for the team. Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel said that trip cost between $750,000 and $800,000. It was funded entirely by an anonymous donor.

“It will be about $5,000 to $6,000 a person, so it was a great investment. It was just terrific,” Manuel said. “We pay them through an educational experience like Michigan does all the time. I don’t think about it in terms of paying our athletes but if people want to say we should give something to our students of value, I can’t think of a better way to invest in them for their lifetime and their experience.”

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Harbaugh also updated Grant Perry’s standing with the team.

Earlier in June, Harbaugh said Perry, who is set to stand trial on multiple charges in July, was allowed to work out with the team. However, Harbaugh clarified that Perry would not “represent the team on the field in games” until the legal process plays out completely.

“He won’t represent the team on the field in games until the case is finalized, until there’s closure. He’s always had the opportunity to get treatment, to get academic support, to be in the university. He’s still a functioning member of the university. The latest step was to allow him to train and to workout with the team. To have an opportunity, if it comes this season, seems fair. So that was the decision that was made.”

Perry is facing a felony charge of assault and two fourth-degree misdemeanor charges of sexual conduct stemming from an incident last October. Perry is accused of inappropriately touching a woman while waiting in line at a bar in East Lansing. He was suspended indefinitely by the team in December after he was formally charged and did not participate in spring practice.

For more Michigan news, visit TheWolverine.com.

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Sam Cooper is a writer for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!

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