The Southeastern Conference is looking to thwart Michigan's hopes of holding some of its spring practice in the state of Florida during the offseason.
League commissioner Greg Sankey told CBS Sports that the SEC has asked the NCAA to prohibit schools from holding practice during spring break. This comes on the heels of Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh's announcement that the Wolverines will spend part of spring break (Feb. 27 to March 6) practicing at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. The plan would be for Michigan to hold practices at IMG on Feb. 29, March 1 and March 3-4, according to CBS Sports.
"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," Sankey told CBS Sports. "Let's draw a line and say, 'That's not appropriate.'"
A source told CBS Sports that practice plans similar to Michigan's likely won't be allowed in the future, but that a decision on it isn't expected to happen before Michigan's spring break trip to Florida. However, Sankey said the SEC has asked the newly formed NCAA Football Oversight Committee to address the issue of time demands on student-athletes "as soon as possible."
FBS players are allowed a maximum of four weeks off per year and the NCAA grants a maximum of 20 hours per week for student-athletes to spend in their respective sports and no more than four hours per day. Michigan's trip to IMG would account for one of those four off weeks.
The SEC is challenging Michigan's attempt to essentially take away what is traditionally an off week for athletes, leaving them less time to rest and step away from the sport.
"This seems completely counter to the dialogue," Sankey said. "We have work to do on [giving athletes a] day off. We have work to do on, how do you provide a postseason break? It seems where this is one where reasonable people could say we just shouldn't be in this space."
Michigan's spring break plans are yet another controversial move by Harbaugh that has rubbed the SEC the wrong way. Last summer, Harbaugh enjoyed his first offseason as the Wolverines' head coach by participating in several "satellite camps" inside SEC territory. The SEC, which didn't allow coaches to participate in satellite camps before Harbaugh's 2015 road trip, and the ACC have sponsored pending legislation that would ban these kinds of camps.
"The net of that is to say the Southeastern Conference is not going to be outpaced in recruiting," Sankey said. "If the national approach is that we want to have more aggressive summer camps and coaches touring around all summer, then we will not only engage in that behavior, we will certainly engage in that behavior more actively -- probably more effectively than others."