If you’ve been paying any attention to college football the past few months then you have most certainly heard about the never-ending debate over whether satellite camps will be allowed or not.
Before I break down the argument for and against them, let me tell you what they are. Satellite camps are camps held in certain regions of the country (particularly the south) where a large group of high school players gather at either a high school or town facility. They have no affiliation with any college and usually charge a small fee. These camps are attended by a wide variety of college coaches from all over the country. It sounds great doesn’t it? These camps give players an opportunity to be seen by coaches around the country rather than just the schools that they can afford to travel to.
Well as we know in college sports and football in particular; it is not about the athletes. This whole mess began because the SEC and ACC fought hard against them. They claim that they shouldn’t be allowed because they fall outside the traditional recruiting period. The reality of it? 65 of the top 100 recruits on ESPN hail from the southern states. Coaches from the SEC and ACC don’t want the Big-10 and PAC-12 stealing guys from their own back yard. This is why you have coaches fighting so hard in both directions. Jim Harbaugh has used these satellite camps to land major prospects from the south and is a big reason for Michigan’s turnaround. On the complete opposite spectrum is Nick Saban. He called the camps “ridiculous” and “bad for college football.” God forbid Nick Saban had to work a little harder to get a recruit.
As usual the NCAA has done a fantastic job handling the entire situation. First they allowed them, then banned them, and finally in April they voted again to re-allow them. Now with the summer months rolling around the camps have started and wow are they blowing up. At Rutgers more than 800 high school prospects attended the camp. In New Jersey over 500 came out. People are expecting the numbers to grow as the summer goes along and now after their long battle against it, the SEC is “in discussions” of starting their own massive satellite camp that will include all 14 teams. If you can’t beat ’em, join them as they say.
All that is certain is that these camps will give student-athletes a better opportunity to be seen by a wider variety of coaches. In my book, that is a great thing. Also, we get to see more of this all summer.