The NCAA: Protector of Student-Athletes Everywhere. At least that’s the tagline they want you to swallow hook, line and sinker while passing a ban on college football satellite camps.
For those of you just tuning in, Big Ten schools such as Michigan and Nebraska were setting up shop in SEC and ACC country. This didn’t sit well with either conference and it didn’t help that Jim Harbaugh used every streamer and firework to make sure the Maize and Blue’s camps were an opportunity athletes couldn’t afford to pass up.
The Pac-12, Big 12, Sun Belt and Mountain West conferences added their votes to the aforementioned duo, hammering the final nail in the coffin by a 10-5 vote.
ESPN’s Brett McMurphy reported that the NCAA’s support of the ban was because of “the colleges’ inability to control their coaches on the recruiting trails. Basically, it would turn summer recruiting into the wild, wild West by allowing all of these staffs to basically go all over the country, specifically into the south to set up these camps.”
Let’s face it, when the SEC shakes its head in disapproval, the people at the head of the table take notice and when it can get a Power Five conference like the ACC to back it up, two heavyweights can’t be ignored.
Alabama’s Nick Saban is against the camps, suggesting that they could start springing up all over in densely populated areas. "It sounds like a pretty ridiculous circumstance for me for something that nobody can really determine [if] it have any value anyway,” he told AL.com
Unfortunately for Saban, the merit of satellite camps has already been determined.
Nebraska signed a young man out of Miami by the name of DiCaprio Bootle. He’ll be joining a plethora of new secondary members this fall and the only reason he’s a member of the Huskers’ roster is because he attended one of the Big Red’s satellite camps.
Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops also expressed disappointment with the decision because without the camps, junior offensive guard Jonathan Alvarez out of Mesquite, Texas, who made 10 starts last season would’ve never been discovered. Interestingly, the Sooners’ own Big 12 conference gave a thumb down to the satellite camps.
Western Kentucky’s Jeff Brohm put what the camps offered best when he said, “We always enjoyed the reach that our satellite camps provided us across the region. They allowed more players to interact not only with our coaches and staff, but to interact with coaches from other programs in our area.”
Of course, the NCAA couldn’t help but show amazing hypocrisy by deregulating text messages in the same meeting. This means any head coach, assistant coach, graduate assistant or intern can bother a recruit literally 24 hours per day.
Yes, you read that correctly. Heaven forbid the Bootles and Alvarezes of the world be discovered when they otherwise wouldn’t, but let already-knowns be bombarded with texts to the point where every recruit will carry a burner phone.
Supposedly this is all going to help coaches not have to work so hard, too. Here’s the cold, hard truth: If a coach wants to win big at the FBS level, they are going to have to work harder than the next man. The NCAA isn’t doing a service to anyone because the next man is already working 18 hours and slamming Red Bulls like he gets paid by the can.
With Twitter, recruits have a firewall. They can choose to talk to whomever they like whether it’s a fan or a coach, but now their cell phone number can be blitzed at 3 a.m., the caller faces no repercussions and the prospect just has to deal with it.
How does this benefit the actual student-athletes at all? It doesn’t.
This was at best a bumbling effort by the NCAA to look like it was leveling the playing field and at worst blatant kowtowing to the SEC and ACC.
At this point one step forward, two steps back would be a refreshing change. This time, the NCAA drunkenly stumbled backwards into a dumpster.