ACC Commissioner, John Swofford, expressed his thoughts on Jim Harbaugh’s revolutionary idea for spring break down in Bradenton, Florida. Swofford said on Thursday in an interview with ESPN.com that the NCAA needs to look into their rules to close the loophole that would allow that. He went on to say: “I’m not sure I’ve ever heard that brought up before. So that’s a new twist.”
The announcement earlier this month by Harbaugh after National Signing Day has raised many questions and eyebrows. He keeps pushing the envelope, while not violating NCAA rules through a roller coaster recruiting process, landing a top five freshman class for next fall, and now being the first coach to leave their state for the first four spring practices with nobody holding him back. Other coaches in the Big Ten Conference like Mark Dantonio may follow Harbaugh’s lead, unless the NCAA changes something to their current rules.
Swofford followed SEC commissioner, Greg Sankey, by expressing he is not in favor of this idea:
“As I told someone previously, it certainly is creative thinking, but I do think it flies in the face of the whole national discussion of time demands,” Swofford stated. “When you start considering taking a break away from a student-athlete and requiring a practice session wherever you might be, if you’re trying to move the student-athlete experience back toward a more collegiate experience and it can’t be totally like other students that aren’t involved in intercollegiate athletics it’s understood. That would not seem consistent with the overall discussions about time demands and the student-athlete experience that’s taking place right now. At least that’s one man’s opinion.”
Swofford mentioned he has not spoken with league coaches on the subject. This may definitely be a topic of conversation at the upcoming spring meetings in May.
Michigan senior tight end Jake Butt, spoke out on Twitter last week saying this:
As a student athlete, I like the idea of knocking out some of my spring practices when I don't have to worry about class.. #perspective
— jake butt (@JBooty_88) February 10, 2016
Some feel this is a time for break from school and athletics; however, it’s also a time college kids make poor choices. This trip will not be all about work and we know Jim Harbaugh will have a couple of surprises up his sleeve. It also allows players to be away from school, to focus on practice and developing as a team, when all other spring practices will be in Michigan during school. He also knows this will give players a chance to spend time in Florida, when some may not be able to afford it and to keep them safe on break.
The NCAA president, Mark Emmert, told reporter Josh Kendall with The State today that they will have a meeting in April focusing on cutting back on time spent in athletics.
NCAA prez Emmert clearly against the spring break football trip. "There's a difference between not being prohibited and being OK."
— Josh Kendall (@JoshatTheState) February 19, 2016
Emmert also said there is not enough time to block Michigan before the planned trip of February 28th-to-March 4th. He went on to say, “There is nothing he is doing that is against the rules. If the membership wants to change the rules they need to do so.”
Jim Harbaugh is keeping everyone talking at a time of the year where college basketball is normally dominating the world of sport’s leading up to March and the NCAA Tournament. He continues to be the most unpredictable coach in college football with enthusiasm unknown to mankind.