Harbaugh to take U-M to South Africa in 2019

Jim Harbaugh and the Michigan football team are headed to South Africa in 2019.

Harbaugh said in the past that he plans to coordinate an annual expenses-paid trip to a foreign country every year for his team, but had not revealed the next destination on the Wolverines’ travel itinerary until Monday morning. The coach said during a radio interview with WTKA-AM that his team was planning to visit Johannesburg and Cape Town, along with going on safari.

“How about that? How about a safari?” Harbaugh said. “I’m looking forward to it.”

Last month, Michigan returned from a team-wide trip to France where the players and coaches visited Paris and Normandy. A year ago, the team traveled to Italy in the first of what has become an annual excursion.

The trip to Italy was held as the finale to Michigan’s spring practice schedule and included three workouts overseas. The team did not practice while in France, spending all of its time sightseeing and doing other team-building activities.

Players aren’t required to go on the trips, but their costs are covered if they choose to do so. The trips have been financed thus far by a pair of Michigan donors — Bobby Kotick and Don Graham.

Harbaugh has mentioned South Africa as a destination on his bucket list since returning from a positive experience in Italy. He said at an event earlier this month that he was also considering Spain, Greece and Cuba as potential sites for future trips.

Harbaugh said Michigan has received calls from other football programs interested in what it takes to organize the trips. So far, no other school has organized a similar team-wide overseas excursion.

“You see study abroad at a high level for college students. Football players, in the past, haven’t participated in that,” Harbaugh said earlier this month at a fundraising event in Toledo, Ohio. “It’s [our] way of being able to do that.”

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