It appears the great satellite camp debate might have reached an end.
The NCAA announced Friday that its Division I council voted to put an end to the camps, effective immediately.
“The Council approved a proposal applicable to the Football Bowl Subdivision that would require those schools to conduct camps and clinics at their school’s facilities or at facilities regularly used for practice or competition,” the NCAA said in a release. “Additionally, FBS coaches and noncoaching staff members with responsibilities specific to football may be employed only at their school’s camps or clinics. This rule change is effective immediately.”
These camps have been a controversial subject over the past few offseasons. The NCAA prohibited programs from hosting camps more than 50 miles from their own campus, but several Big Ten coaching staffs, especially Jim Harbaugh and Michigan, have taken advantage of a loophole and participated in camps (which were hosted by other schools) as guest coaches.
Most of these camps have taken place in the fertile recruiting grounds of the South. Predictably, coaches from the SEC and ACC – both of which banned its coaches from taking advantage of the loophole – have not been happy about it.
Penn State’s camps in Georgia and Florida in 2014 were among the first to raise the ire of SEC coaches, but Harbaugh took it to a new level when he arrived at Michigan. The Wolverines staff participated in nine camps across seven states last June.
Michigan, and several other schools (including Ohio State), had plans in place for additional camps this upcoming summer. Thusly, the SEC and ACC hoped to ban the practice, and that came to fruition on Friday after a vote took place Wednesday.
According to ESPN, the Big Ten was the only Power Five conference to vote in favor of the camps.
The SEC, ACC, Pac-12 and Big 12 conferences all voted to end satellite camps, a source said. Among the Group of 5 conferences, the Sun Belt and Mountain West voted against the satellite camps, while the Mid-American, Conference USA and American were in favor of continuing the camps.
The vote to prohibit satellite camps was passed by a 10-5 margin. Each Power 5 conference vote counts as two votes, while each Group of 5 conference vote counts for one vote for a maximum of 15 votes.
From a student-athlete’s perspective, these camps provided a chance for exposure. Some of these prospects may have been overlooked in the many talent-rich areas down south; these camps allowed them to perform in front of coaching staffs who may have missed them otherwise – especially when coaches from smaller schools would coach alongside Power Five staffs.
Additionally, it’s not the easiest thing for a kid and his family to take an unofficial visit to places like Ann Arbor and State College. In these instances, coaches would come to them.
Alex Barbir, a kicker from Georgia who signed with Penn State in its 2016 class, said he would not have received a scholarship offer from PSU without attending a satellite camp.
"To me, the satellite camp I went to 45 minutes from my home is the reason I'm going to Penn State," Barbir told PennLive.com. "I wasn't able to attend a camp in Pennsylvania, but I wanted to have a chance to kick for the coaches and possibly get an offer. So they told me about this satellite camp down in Atlanta by me so I was all for it.
"Obviously who I am, game film and stats also played a factor, but seeing me perform in person how I did was the game changer for me, and that was made possible by this satellite camp."
Now, kids like Barbir won’t have the chance.
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