Everybody fretted about it back in January when it was first announced, but the Michigan Wolverines really are heading to Rome for spring practice this month.
While a large number of football teams across the country are wrapping up their spring practices on Saturday, Jim Harbaugh and company will actually be getting ready to leave for Italy a few hours later. There are three workouts scheduled for next week in the city but a large amount of time for the players, coaches and staff members tagging along is being devoted to touring the historic sites around the area.
In addition to the Coliseum, Trevi Fountain and other tourist mainstays on the agenda for the Wolverines, one unique opportunity will take place next Wednesday: they’ll meet the pope.
“I want it to be the greatest experience of our players’ lives up until this point,” Harbaugh told the Big Ten Network last Saturday. “It’s going to be a great educational experience, and we have tickets to see the Pope give a papal address on the 26th of April.”
Harbaugh, who is a devout Catholic, and the rest of the Michigan team will apparently take in Pope Francis’ weekly audience, in addition to touring the rest of the Vatican and St. Peter’s Square. It’s not every day a college football team meets the pope and hopefully there will be plenty of cameras around to record what ever the Michigan football coach says to the pontiff.
Harbaugh has said that he wants to keep up the international trips with future endeavors to South Africa, Japan and Israel among other places. While those all sound fascinating, it will probably be hard to top meeting the pope.