The same day he landed the No. 1 recruit in the country, Jim Harbaugh announced that Michigan will hold a week of its spring practice at Florida high school football powerhouse IMG Academy.
Michigan's first four spring practices will be held at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.— Dan Murphy (@DanMurphyESPN) February 3, 2016
The Detroit Free Press first reported that Michigan was trying to make that move in early January, planning for a spring break trip. However it needed to get the NCAA and Big Ten's blessing.
The issues would be the location and the amount of practice time. The NCAA spring practice rules (bylaw 126.96.36.199) govern how often a team can practice (15 times) and the span (34 calendar days not counting schools vacations) and how much contact there can be (only in 12 of the 15 practices). There is nothing noted about the location.
One potential complication, if the Big Ten or NCAA nix the idea. Despite no apparent roadblocks in the bylaws, the conference and national organization likely would have to clear it before the Wolverines followed through.
Now that this satellite spring practice becomes a reality, it will be the second straight year Harbaugh has brought his program to the south. Last year, he ran a series of satellite recruiting camps, which made a lot of SEC coaches very mad.
Saban: "We have a lot of crazy rules." Says it makes no sense HCs can't recruit in spring but can do satellite camps.— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) May 26, 2015
This would undoubtedly make SEC coaches mad, too. IMG Academy is a Florida football powerhouse with a lot of potential recruits, and this would just generally give Michigan more of a presence in the south. Harbaugh was miffed why someone would be upset.
Harbaugh: you're allowed to cross state borders in my America— Mark Snyder (@Mark__Snyder) February 3, 2016
Harbaugh is clearly set on expanding Michigan's reach, and he's going to ruffle a lot of feathers in the process.