As if satellite camps weren’t enough to stir up controversy in the SEC, Jim Harbaugh and Michigan reportedly are looking into taking another step toward establishing a footprint in the South.
The Detroit Free Press’ Mark Snyder reports Michigan is considering holding a portion of its spring practice at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., which would be an unprecedented step of not just moving those practices off-campus, but into another region of the country.
Snyder figures Michigan, if it were to follow through on this plan, would hold the practices during its spring break, which runs from Feb. 27-March 6. IMG Academy is an ideal location, given its state-of-the-art facilities and dorm-like housing.
Also worth noting: IMG Academy, according to Rivals.com, is home to nine four- and five-star recruits for the class of 2016, headlined by five-star quarterback and Ole Miss commit Shea Patterson. For the recruiting class of 2017, there’s one five-star player (No. 1 DE John Kaindoh, who has a scholarship offer from Michigan) and nine four-star players, only three of whom are verbally committed.
And even if Michigan doesn’t pull one of those blue-chippers from IMG Academy, simply being in the Florida could be a boost to recruiting in one of the most talent-rich territories in the United States. The question, of course, is whether or not compliance, the Big Ten and/or NCAA would permit Michigan to move its spring practices about 1,200 miles south of campus for a week.
If Michigan is allowed to execute this idea, it’ll lead to a fresh cacophony of complaints from the SEC, as well as Florida State and Miami, most likely. But it’ll be another sign, too, that Harbaugh is willing to push the limits of what the NCAA will allow to gain a recruiting foothold in the South.