Michael Phelps spent four years as a student at Michigan but did not graduate. He attended school in Ann Arbor because his swim coach was there and he wanted to join him. Phelps has been a volunteer assistant in the Michigan program which enabled him to work in the pool with other U-M swimmers. His popularity was strong even before the Beijing games. Phelps worked Michigan's summer camp and it drew a record 969 kids-- some not attending swim camp at MSU because of Phelps' presence according to MSU men's swim coach Matt Gianodis.
Gianodis says Michigan's swim program is so big nationally that "we never get a kid we're recruiting if Michigan goes after him-- it's that simple. Their program is different from ours."
How much more time Phelps gives to U-M remains to be seen. He never was on the varsity because he accepted endorsement money for the Olympics back in 2000. But he worked out fervently with the U-M team. You wonder if Michigan officials won't try to parade him before a football crowd at a key home game. And if Phelps had ever attended Michigan State imagine how many people might attend a parade in his honor through the streets of downtown Lansing.
Phelps is signing endorsement deals right and left. His agents say his eight gold medals at these games should be worth $100 million in endorsements through his lifetime. And that's if he never swims again-- and the London games are four years from now when Phelps will still be only 27 years old.