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Michigan planning spring practice trip to Italy

Michigan planning spring practice trip to Italy

5:29 PM ET

  • Brian BennettESPN Staff Writer
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    • ESPN.com Big Ten reporter.
    • Joined ESPN.com in 2008.
    • Graduate of the University of Kentucky.

Michigan‘s Jim Harbaugh is pushing the envelope on a spring practice trip again, this time all the way to Italy.

The Wolverines announced Monday that the football team would spend a week in Rome at the end of April, using three of its 15 allotted practices to train at the facilities of A.S. Roma, the city’s professional soccer club. Exact dates were not announced, but team officials said the trip would be after the school’s final exams.

Michigan is calling it “a week of educational and spring drills” and said players will tour historic landmarks, spend time at local orphanages and visit U.S. military stationed in the area during its trip. Players would also have the opportunity to pursue international internships or study abroad programs after the trip.

“The study abroad and international internships will better prepare our student-athletes to compete in today’s global economy,” Harbaugh said in the school’s release. “We are committed to offering our students a broad experience that will prepare these young men for life after football.”

The Wolverines’ final practice session will include a youth clinic and a scrimmage that’s open to the public while in Rome.

Last year, Harbaugh took his team to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, for a week of spring practice. The trip drew criticism from rival coaches and administrators, especially in the SEC. Last week, the NCAA passed a rule banning off-campus football practices during vacation periods outside of football season. The NCAA ban does not go into effect until this August.

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