In April, Michigan football players, coaches, and their family members went to Italy for spring break to play football, do tourist things, and enjoy what the university described as an “educational” experience. The trip was fully funded by an anonymous donor and on Tuesday, Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel told the Detroit News the trip will end up costing between $750,000 and $800,000.
According to the Detroit Free Press, Michigan was scheduled to take “117 players in two shifts, separated because of different final exam schedules, plus 37 family members and 50 coaches and staff members.”
“Waiting on a few numbers, so we don’t have it final.”
“It will be about $5,000 to $6,000 a person, so it was a great investment. It was just terrific.
The math doesn’t quite add up—117 player, plus 37 family members, plus 50 coaches, multiplied by $5,000, comes to more than a million dollars (if it was $6,000 a head, the cost would be well over a million)—and neither does Manuel’s claim about “paying student athletes”:
“We pay them through an educational experience, like Michigan does all the time. I don’t think about it in terms of paying our athletes, but if people want to say we should give something to our students of value, I can’t think of a better way to invest in them for their lifetime and their experience.”
It’s possible that all the players had a grand time eating pizza and watching Jim Harbaugh have the time of his life while promoting Michigan’s brand internationally, but many of them could probably think of better ways to invest $5,000 or $6,000 if given the chance to do so themselves.