NCAA rescinds ban on satellite football camps

Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh gained national attention when he began holding football camps in the South. (File/AP Photo/Tony Ding)

The NCAA’s Division I Board of Directors has rescinded the ban on satellite camps for Bowl Subdivision football teams.

The board’s decision Thursday comes almost three weeks after the Division I Council approved a proposal barring FBS coaches from holding or working at camps and clinics away from their schools. The camps drew a high profile recently as Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh held camps in the South.

The ban created an outcry from coaches who contend satellite camps provide opportunities for athletes to be noticed by high-profile coaches and possibly receive scholarships.

The board also directed the council to conduct a broad assessment of FBS recruiting. The board wants initial recommendations for improving the football recruiting environment from the council by Sept. 1.

“The Board of Directors is interested in a holistic review of the football recruiting environment, and camps are a piece of that puzzle,” said Board of Directors chair Harris Pastides, president of the University of South Carolina. “We share the Council’s interest in improving the camp environment, and we support the Council’s efforts to create a model that emphasizes the scholastic environment as an appropriate place for recruiting future student-athletes.”

South Carolina’s Will Muschamp was among the SEC head coaches who had plans to pursue satellite camps before the measure was initially overturned. “At the end of the day, we’re prepared to do what we need to do from a camp circuit standpoint,” he said during spring practice. “... We’re prepared to make the accommodations we need to to get the exposure we need with some student-athletes.”

South Carolina’s initial camp plans were not known. Ole Miss had intended to hold satellite camps in Dallas and Houston in conjunction with Oklahoma State, and in Atlanta with Missouri. And Georgia had “a plan ready,” head coach Kirby Smart told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

SEC commissioner Greg Sankey was displeased with the ruling. “While we are disappointed with the NCAA governance process result, we respect the Board of Directors’ decision and are confident SEC football programs will continue to be highly effective in their recruiting efforts,” he said in a statement.

“We continue to believe football recruiting is primarily an activity best-focused in high schools during the established recruiting calendar, which has provided opportunities for football prospective student-athletes from all across the country to obtain broad national access and exposure but with appropriate guidance from high school coaches, teachers and advisors that focuses on both their academic and athletic opportunities as they decide where they will play college football.”

(Staff writer David Caraviello contributed to this report)