Slump Sports Blogger
The University of Michigan football team kicked off their week-long practice at the IMG Academy in Florida this week.
Head coach Jim Harbaugh has received plenty of criticism for taking his group of Wolverines down south. So yes, we are actually talking about practice.
To preface this, I have been a Michigan fan my whole life, and I think it is great what Harbaugh is doing.
He isn’t breaking any NCAA rules (that I know of), and the “open to the public” practice on Friday will hopefully draw many recruits (IMG Academy is know for outstanding athletes) out to the field to see how the Wolverines conduct business.
Many people have been upset about this week of practice. Specifically, people see it as an unfair advantage to Michigan’s recruiting.
In a way, it isn’t unfair (because it isn’t illegal), but it is unfair because of how brilliant Harbaugh is for doing this.
Let me explain. Harbaugh has defended this trip by comparing it to what other sports do for their pre-season work (like baseball or softball traveling south, even though that is a part of their regular season), and he said that this will get practice out of the way before the players have to take exams in April. Brilliant. If you can tie in academic success with this, you’re golden.
But more importantly, how can powerhouses in the SEC counteract this? See for Michigan, it is a benefit not only for exposure to recruits, but also for the fact that it allows them to get outdoors instead of hanging around Ann Arbor in the middle of winter practicing indoors. Theoretically, SEC schools could attempt to target west coast recruits by trying to practice out there, but it would be much more obvious what their motives are because they could easily practice outdoors at their own facilities.
For Michigan, it actually benefits them on the field as well as on the recruiting trail, which makes it easy for Harbaugh to deflect critics and deflect he has.
Look out Kirby Smart. Usually, Harbaugh subtweets critics but not this time. He went right after “the Georgia coach.”
As a fan of Michigan, you have to love this. An approach that seeks to get the most out of your team while not breaking the rules and calling out all those that are jealous that they didn’t think of this idea first.
Think twice before barking up Harbaugh’s tree.