Michigan to Hold Practice at Ford Field: Latest Comments, Reaction

Joe PantornoFeatured ColumnistMarch 22, 2016

Football fans wait to enter Ford Field for an NFL football game between the Detroit Lions and the Green Bay Packers, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Rick Osentoski)
Rick Osentoski/Associated Press

University of Michigan football is going to give its roster an early opportunity to play at an NFL facility. Brian Manzullo of the Detroit Free Press reported Tuesday that the Wolverines will be practicing at the Detroit Lions' home of Ford Field on Saturday.   

The D Zone shared the school's press release stating that a limited number of tickets were also available:

The Detroit NewsJosh Katzenstein also reported the Wolverines will have access to the Lions' locker room, further adding to the NFL feel. 

It's not like the Wolverines will be getting their first taste of playing at a big facility when they practice at Ford Field. The Lions' home holds about 65,000 seats, while Michigan Stadium, nicknamed The Big House, holds over 109,000 fans. 

The Wolverines have already traveled for practice in 2016 as well. Head coach Jim Harbaugh took his team down to Florida for spring break at IMG Academy, which is much farther than the 33 miles that separate the University of Michigan from Ford Field.

Michigan's trip down South didn't sit too well with the SEC, though, which asked the NCAA in February to block the Wolverines from visiting Florida because it took away "free time" from student-athletes, per CBS Sports' Dennis Dodd

It also probably didn't sit well with the conference that a Big Ten school went down into the middle of SEC country and spent time in areas where those schools would recruit. 

Regardless of how others feel about Michigan's practice habits, these high-profile exhibitions could help the school continue building up its reputation both in and out of state. With the recent success of Michigan State, the Wolverines have become second-class to the Spartans. 

Michigan hasn't ranked higher than eighth in the nation and hasn't competed in a New Year's Six bowl game since 2011.

Practices like the upcoming one at Ford Field could make the program a more attractive option for possible recruits. It will also help with visibility during the offseason, which doesn't hurt with the football season still six months away.