Last offseason (and even this offseason) satellite camps have been a huge topic of discussion in the college football world.
The most vocal supporter of the camps was Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, who held several camps in SEC territory to try to entice some of the nation’s most-talented high school athletes to head north for college.
Understandably, SEC schools didn’t particularly care for other programs hosting camps in their region of the country, and ultimately got the NCAA to ban all camps that aren’t held on college campuses.
That means Harbaugh and the Wolverines can’t host a camp down in Louisiana (or any other SEC state) unless invited by a college in that state. Neither can Tom Herman at Texas or Urban Meyer at Ohio State or any number of top coaches at elite programs.
According to a Sports Illustrated report, a big reason for the new rules was LSU’s pressure on the NCAA to keep other programs out of their state. One anonymous staff member of a school that can no longer host camps in Louisiana told SI.com that LSU’s persuasion of the NCAA has ruined their plans:
“The combination of LSU’s pressure and the new NCAA rules not being able to have camps at anything other than a college campus has hampered everything.”
However, despite the appearance of fairness to the NCAA ruling, in which hometown teams have a better chance of landing their state’s top prospects, some high school coaches think it actually hurts high school athletes.
Robert Valdez, the coach of St. James High School located between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, said it hurts the players’ chances of getting their names out there on a national level:
“A lot of these schools have fixed numbers of scholarships,” Valdez said. “We have thousands of kids jockeying for scholarships. The more variety of schools [evaluating them], the better. We promote fair market competition with consumerism in our economy. We’re taking that away from the kids.”
Whatever the NCAA decides to do about satellite camps in the future, it sounds like the topic won’t be going away anytime soon.