Syracuse, N.Y. — Michigan football head coach Jim Harbaugh is taking plenty of heat for seeking warmer climates for spring break.
Harbaugh recently announced that the Wolverines will spend their spring break week (Feb. 29-March 4) practicing at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.
Folks in SEC country aren’t particularly thrilled with the idea.
In a bit of interesting timing, CBS reports that SEC commissioner Greg Sankey is seeking an NCAA rule prohibiting college football teams from holding spring practice during spring break.
Harbaugh had a response for Sankey and his SEC friends via Twitter on Wednesday.
Question of the day: Does anyone find whining to be attractive? Just curious.
— Coach Harbaugh (@CoachJim4UM) February 10, 2016
Greg, your response?
“I’m not going to reduce what is an important conversation to some childhood use of Twitter,” Sankey told AL.com on Wednesday. “This is an important issue. … This is about saying we’re not going to infringe further on the time demands of student-athletes – the free times and spring break in particular.”
Harbaugh has shown he isn’t going to do things the conventional way at Michigan. Just look at his star-studded signing day event featuring Derek Jeter, Tom Brady and a host of famous Michigan alums.
That brings us to Syracuse football. Should Dino Babers take a page out of Harbaugh’s book and eventually consider moving parts of Syracuse’s spring practice to warmer climates?
Keep in mind I ask that question with forecasted highs of six and seven degrees in Syracuse this weekend, so I may just have warmer destinations on the brain.
It’s not like Syracuse hasn’t moved spring practice before.
Doug Marrone took the team to Rochester’s Sahlen’s Stadium in 2011 and 2012, but that was more of a marketing outreach and, no offense Rochester, but that’s not much a bold move to go 45 minutes up the Thruway.
Harbaugh’s move to Florida is not only designed to escape an Ann Arbor winter in February, but to plant Michigan football in the most fertile recruiting ground in the country for a week.
It’s a bold move. It’s ruffling feathers, especially among SEC schools. It’s not against the rules. Harbaugh’s tactics aren’t for everyone, but you have to admire the fact he’s willing to try something new at a school where tradition is everything.
Skeptics will say the reasons not to do something like this outweigh the reasons to do it.
It’s certainly not cheap to move an entire football team to Florida for a week.
In Syracuse’s case, they have a new indoor practice facility that wasn’t built just for the lacrosse team to use in harsh weather this time of year.
As for the recruiting angle, Babers’ coaching staff landed seven prospects from Florida, the most of any state, so maybe they don’t need to think differently to land prospects from the Sunshine State.
Babers’ fast-moving offensive philosophy, his Bowling Green offense was Top 5 in the country last season, should light a spark at Syracuse.
Perhaps moving the team to Florida for a week isn’t the answer.
But is there an idea similar to Harbaugh’s march to Dixie that Syracuse should consider to put some life into the program?
There’s a new era of Syracuse football underway and new ideas are welcome.
Especially the ones that get us out of town for a week in February.
I think spring practice in Cancun has a nice ring to it.
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