Satellite camps: Only uptempo offenses and flashbacks to the 2014 Sugar Bowl give Alabama coach Nick Saban more heartburn these days than those two words.
Saban, along with the rest of the SEC and ACC, championed the NCAA’s recent ban on the use of satellite camps. For which, the NCAA has come under fire for, because it doesn’t appear to be in the best interest of recruits.
What you might not realize, is that the Big 12 actually voted in favor of the ban. In fact, it was Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby who formed the NCAA subcommittee to investigate how satellite camps were being used which ultimately lead to the NCAA’s decision to prohibit them.
To the shock of no one, at least a couple of Big 12 coaches disagree with the new ruling.
“Just really disappointed of the opportunity that’s gonna be taken away from potential student-athletes,” Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy told the O’Colly. “I don’t understand the concept of the thought that’s being put into taking away, schools, coaches potentially seeing young men that could be involved in getting an education.”
Iowa State’s new head coach Matt Campbell had even stronger words for the NCAA.
“I’m furious,” Campbell told the Ames Tribune. “The reality is to take college Division I schools that are willing to pay their own money to go down, spend the money, provide a camp, provide an opportunity and give these young men an opportunity to get evaluated, I just don’t know if I see it being the right way and I hope the NCAA sits here and looks at it and says, ‘Man, was this really the right thing for young kids?’”
It is not surprising that Campbell is a little upset. He is in the midst of trying to jump-start the Cyclone program and had plans to join Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh in Texas next month. No doubt it would have given recruits a chance to get familiar with Campbell and the Iowa State program that they otherwise wouldn’t get.
Kansas State coach Bill Snyder is a little more conflicted on the issue. He understands the reasoning behind the ban but wishes there was a little leeway to the rule.
“I have mixed emotions about it,” Snyder said in a press conference. “You like to get out and have the opportunity to be with young guys, but, by the same token, it can get out of hand.”
“Our satellite camps, for the most part, were in the state of Kansas trying to get out to western Kansas, because western Kansas youngsters sometimes just can’t get here. We did them in Kansas City, we did them in Wichita. We were in-state. I would prefer the rule still allow you to do that.”
Coach Snyder has made a living off of finding guys in areas where others haven’t taken the time to look. It’s just the nature of recruiting Kansas. Coach Snyder and Kansas State coming to town are one of the rare opportunities many high schools athletes have at being evaluated by a Division I program. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to realize that opportunity just vanished for a lot of kids.
In the biggest show of support by a Big 12 coach so far, Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops admits that he’s taken advantage of satellite camps in the past but is in favor of the new rule.
“‘Hey, whatever’s best for everybody,” Stoops told the press. “It’s OK. We think we’ve taken [advantage]. You know, we’ve had good use of the ones we’ve had and have taken advantage of it, but I don’t know that it’ll affect us that much overall. You know, it’s just you’ll have to emphasize more guys that are in a position to drive here and get here with us that we can do it.
“And we may then add another, you know, couple days at our campus either in the summer in June or maybe later at the end of the summer before we start back. So we’ll look at it.”
When asked about how that will some kid’s opportunities, he acknowledged the same concerns other coaches have stated, but he is in support of the big picture.
“Yeah, definitely that’s something that [is an issue],” Stoops said. “There’s always cause and effect to everybody, and I’m sure it’ll be unfortunate some kids aren’t able to get up here to work with us that could have elsewhere. But there’s a lot to consider around the country, so whatever our leaders feel is the right thing to do, I’m on board.”
The concern across the country is that more and more coaches will feel pressured to take Coach Harbaugh’s approach of abusing the use of satellite camps in fear of being left behind on the recruiting trail. As Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio put it, “abuse brings control”, and that is something Coach Snyder understands.
“The rule now is everything has to be on your campus,” Snyder said. “I can live with it. That’s fine. I think it serves the purpose of not opening the thing up so you have 1,000 camps across the country. That is probably a problem as well.”