NCAA Football: Michigan at Michigan State
Oct 29, 2016; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh throws the ball before a game against the Michigan State Spartans at Spartan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan took a historic trip — literally and figuratively speaking — to Rome earlier this year for their spring football practice. They used their allotted practice time per NCAA rules to hold practices in local football (soccer) and rugby venues.

They remainder of their week-long vacation was just like any other group of international tourists, as they made the rounds in Italy, including a visit to The Vatican and Pope Francis. Head coach Jim Harbaugh even gifted the pope with a football helmet and Michigan-colored cleats.

The program thanked the school and fans for their support following their return home. One DSN writer says the spring trip to Rome exemplified “The Michigan Difference” on the part of Harbaugh. And now, the program wants to continue going international, this time in more cities.

Harbaugh said the team recently voted on cities to travel to for the 2018 spring practice, and they narrowed it down to three choices.

“We took a straw poll,” Harbaugh said. “Right now, we’re looking into going to Paris, then Normandy and then London — we’d finish up in London.”

“Rome was great, there was so much to see,” he said. “One of the things we thought about after the trip was to go to multiple places, not just stay in one place. But there was so much to see in Rome, it was unbelievable.

“But (right now) to see Paris, Normandy and London — that’s what we’re striving for.”

Obviously that is a ways away, but one can safely pencil in another trip across the pond for Michigan football in the spring of 2018.

It was disclosed last week that the trip to Rome — provided by private donor whose identity remained anonymous per the school — was costing anywhere between $750K-$800K. A similar trip next year would also be provided privately as well.

As if Michigan wasn’t a growing icon internationally enough, it will be even more so next spring.

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