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Why Michigan’s spring game helmets feature the Italian flag

The team has a trip to Rome planned later this month.

The Michigan Wolverines are playing in their spring game this Saturday, and the Wolverines’ helmets have a different sticker than usual. On the back of the helmets, there is the American flag per usual, but also the Italian flag on the other side of it.


A post shared by Jay Harbaugh (@jayharbaugh) on

You can see the edge of the flag in the second picture here as well.

So, what’s the deal with this? Well, later this month the Wolverines are headed to Rome, Italy for a week of practice, as well as education and sightseeing. The trip was announced in January by the school.

Michigan’s trip to Italy is going to involve more than just spring practice. The Wolverines will use three of their permitted 15 spring practice sessions while they’re there, spending the rest of their time doing other things in Rome.

"We were looking to provide our student-athletes with a great educational, cultural and international football experience," Harbaugh said in a university 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 during our visit to Rome."

Now this trip to Rome isn’t aren’t the same as satellite camps, which were banned last April before the NCAA changed its mind on the decision weeks later. A compromise was reached in rules the Division I council passed Friday to allow satelite camps but only at specific places on a limited number of days.

Essentially, it limits the time for Football Bowl Subdivision coaches to participate in camps and clinics to 10 days in June and July and requires that the camps take place on a school's campus or in facilities regularly used by the school for practice or competition. Staff members with football-specific responsibilities are subject to the same restrictions. The Football Championship Subdivision can conduct and participate in camps during the months of June and July (effective immediately, though schools may honor contracts signed before Jan. 18, 2017).