It seems there is another voice sharing his displeasure over the plans Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh has to moving spring football practices down south during spring break. Enter ACC commissioner John Swofford.
“I think the NCAA needs to look at that, yes,” Swofford said in a story posted on ESPN.com by Andrea Adelson. “I’m not sure I’ve ever even heard that brought up before. So that’s a new twist.”
Swofford is right. It has never been brought up before. That is because Harbaugh is looking for new ways to run and build his program. Moving spring football practices to another location is currently allowed under the current NCAA rules and bylaws, but it was expected it would receive some pushback from the SEC and ACC just as Harbaugh and others received from taking advantage of satellite camp rules last summer (don’t worry, this will surely be a hot topic once again this summer). Last week the SEC made a request to the NCAA to amend the current rules so spring football practices could not be held over that school’s spring break (which is when Harbaugh wanted to take the Wolverines to Florida this spring).
Swofford’s comments will be hidden behind the veil of concern over time demands for student-athletes, but it should not take a rocket scientist to realize the greater concern those around the ACC and SEC will have. They are worried programs from the north will transplant spring practices to the south and generate buzz and build stronger recruiting relationships on their soil. Everything is about competitive advantages, deep down inside. Swofford, the ACC and SEC are not specifically concerned over Michigan’s spring practice schedule. They are more focused on how it could open the doors to others following Michigan’s lead and what it could potentially do for the ACC and SEC brands. If the Big Ten is OK with Michigan moving south, and so far there has been no indication suggesting it is not, then maybe the SEC and ACC should continue to focus on their own members and stop expressing concern over what Harbaugh does at Michigan.
If Harbaugh’s plans are put on ice, so be it. That will not stop him from finding another avenue to travel within the NCAA rules to build his program.