Michigan's decision to hold some of its spring practices in Florida came with a price tag, and it wasn't cheap. Wolverines coach Jim Harbaugh's innovation cost nearly $350,000, per Angelique Chengelis of The Detroit News.
During Michigan's spring break, the Wolverines traveled to Florida and conducted the first four of 15 spring practices from Feb. 29 to March 4 before returning to campus. The move provided good exposure for the program in a hotbed recruiting state, not to mention some warmer weather.
Michigan's move to hold spring practices in Florida drew opposition from the SEC, which asked the NCAA to prohibit schools from holding practices during spring break.
"Our primary reaction [is] that, in the face of the time-demand conversations, we've got one program taking what has been 'free time' away," said SEC commissioner Greg Sankey in February. "Let's draw a line and say, 'That's not appropriate.'"
The big winner in all this? Definitely IMG Academy, the Bradenton, Fla., school that hosted the Wolverines, which collected $146,912 from UM for use of its extensive training facility, housing and meals. IMG is a boarding school that caters to athletics with an advanced training facility; its football program is one of the best in Florida and produces Division I signees on a regular basis. Under NCAA rules, high school recruits were only permitted to watch one of the practices, which was designated as open to the public.
Harbaugh has said the experience was a good one and one that he would consider repeating.