Coaches generally don’t like players being heavily active on Twitter, but it could be to the Michigan football team’s advantage during their spring trip.
The Michigan football program taking a portion of spring practice on the road to IMG Academy in Florida has been a hot topic of late. It’s just the latest example of Jim Harbaugh pushing boundaries and breaking the college football mold.
The “invasion” into SEC and ACC territory has brought calls from those conference commissioners for the NCAA to ban such trips, arguing that spring break should be valuable time off for student-athletes. After all, college athletics is all about the student-athlete, right?
Of course, conference commissioners could go about making a league rule to ban such an apparently terrible practice from being replicated by one of their schools. After all, if it is such a detriment for these players to have practice in a warm climate over spring break, shouldn’t the SEC and ACC be inclined to institute a league rule against it so that they can boast an advantage in the student-athlete experience in their league?
And if the student-athlete is truly at the heart of their dissent against what Michigan is doing, it doesn’t make sense to ban practice during spring break, thereby requiring football activities in concurrence with academic responsibilities.
Count Jake Butt, who had the following to say, as a fan of what Michigan is doing this year:
"I think more teams should do this. It’s like a free vacation with all your friends. We were just hanging out on the beach yesterday, eating wings, eating tacos, waves coming in. You get to knock out four practices when you don’t have to worry about classes and studying. It’s brilliant by coach Harbaugh."
It doesn’t take much to reveal the hypocrisy of the SEC and ACC, but there does appear to be some momentum that could make a trip like this impossible for Michigan, or any other program inclined to do something similary, as soon as next year. Relying on logic won’t be enough to keep a ban from being in place, but an outpouring of social media activity from Michigan football players conveying this trip as a positive experience should neuter arguments against it.
Michigan’s first fall camp under Jim Harbaugh came with a bunker mentality in which access to the team was shut off and the focus was entirely on football. This week is about football, yes, but also fun. If it is to ever happen again, players should be encouraged to be all over social media to make no mistake that this trip is a benefit, not a detriment, to their student-athlete experience.
Most coaches are wary of their players being overly active on social media these days, but for Jim Harbaugh and Michigan, encouraging it this week would be a wise strategy.