The NCAA and its members are all about looking out for the good of the student-athlete. Just ask them. Yet on Friday, once again, the governing body of college athletics made a ruling that only hurts the very group it says it is trying to protect.
The NCAA has put the kibosh on satellite camps, effective immediately.
Let’s all be honest: Most college football recruits don’t exactly come from privileged families. For every Keyshawn Johnson Jr. out there (he just committed to Nebraska a week ago without ever taking an official visit), there are probably 100 prospects (probably many more) that can’t afford to take unofficial officials halfway across the country and be seen by coaches.
This is why northern schools like Michigan, Penn State and recently Iowa State, have very publicly gotten in the satellite camp game as of late. (It’s notable that other schools – like Iowa – have too done this for years but it hasn’t gotten much press.)
Let’s focus on Iowa State though because obviously, you are logged on to CycloneFanatic.com. Why would Iowa State stage a satellite camp with Michigan in Texas? Go to where the players are.
This is also why the only schools against satellite camps are in the SEC, ACC select California schools and those in Texas. These programs have no need for them. For the most part, they players they recruit (and win with) are within driving distance for an unofficial visit.
Why would Nick Saban want Jim Harbaugh coming into Alabama?
Why would Charlie Strong want Matt Campbell invading Texas?
That’s why the Big 12 was one of the conferences (along with the ACC, the SEC, the Pac-12, the MWC and Sun Belt) that voted against the camps. Almost half of the Big 12 is located in Texas. They don’t need them. It’s a geographic built in advantage that Baylor has over schools like Kansas State and Iowa State.
Another issue in recruiting these days: Prospects are committing earlier and earlier. Ten years ago, the game was all about getting these guys on an official visit during the season. Official visits aren’t taken in the spring and summer. That’s when a good chunk of prospects are committing these days.
By shutting these camps down, the NCAA (and its membership) is only hurting southern prospects that can’t afford to take these unofficial visits and be seen by the northern football programs in this country.
So what now?
My prediction is that the “wild west” (those are the NCAA’s words) of summer recruiting will only get more convoluted.
This won’t stop.
A guy like Jim Harbaugh finds gray areas and abuses the hell out of them. It’s why he’s great. Coaches are like crew chiefs in NASCAR. They are always tickling the line.
These coaches will find a gray area here too.