One of the hottest topics of the college football offseason got some resolution over the weekend when the NCAA announced that satellite camps have been banned.
The formal statement that came down on Friday afternoon read: “The Council approved a proposal applicable to the Football Bowl Subdivision that would require those schools to conduct camps and clinics at their school’s facilities or at facilities regularly used for practice or competition. Additionally, FBS coaches and noncoaching staff members with responsibilities specific to football may be employed only at their school’s camps or clinics. This rule change is effective immediately.”
Informally, the NCAA was stopping Jim Harbaugh’s roll.
In short, satellite camps are events that have been popularized by coaches – particularly in the Big Ten and Pac 12 – where bigger colleges team up with a high school or smaller college in an area they are hoping to build recruiting ties and host a camp that recruits attend.
Michigan, under the guidance of Harbaugh, has been among the most frequent users of this technique. The ACC and SEC, the conferences that stood to lose the most when the likes of Harbaugh, Ohio State’s Urban Meyer and Penn State’s James Franklin raid areas like Georgia and Florida, supported the ban.
Count Tennessee’s Butch Jones among the coaches that were relieved to hear the ruling.
“We were prepared if it did go through, we had locations set up to be able to do that, but I still think at the end of the day, you need to get players to campus,” Jones said on Saturday. “I’ve not been a proponent of satellite camps. Ironically we’ve spoken to many schools that have done the satellite camps, and quietly their assistant coaches were tired and wore out and didn’t approve of it.
“I thought a right decision was made there. For us, our camps are very important, but getting a young man to campus and having them experience Knoxville, that’s more important.”
And Jones is correct – getting players to campus is one of the most important aspect of the recruiting process.
But keeping the likes of Meyer, Harbaugh, Franklin out of the recruiting-rich areas of Atlanta, Birmingham, various parts of Florida and Texas, Charlotte, Nashville and “SEC recruiting country” in general is a win for every coach and school in the SEC.