The NCAA Division I Board of Directors rescinded a proposed ban on satellite camps Thursday, rebuffing a request from powerhouse conferences in the South and clearing the way for coaches to hold clinics far from their campuses this summer.
The board’s decision came almost three weeks after the Division I Council approved a proposal prohibiting Bowl Subdivision coaches from holding or working at camps and clinics away from their schools. The camps had drawn a high profile since Jim Harbaugh and his Michigan staff held camps in the South last summer.
The Southeastern Conference and Atlantic Coast Conference sponsored the proposal that had created the ban. There was an immediate outcry from coaches across the country who contended satellite camps provide opportunities for previously unrecruited athletes to be noticed by high-profile coaches and possibly receive scholarships.
Among those opposed to the camps is LSU Athletic Director Joe Alleva, who calls them “recruiting camps.”
“Calling them satellite camps is a total misnomer. They’re not satellite camps. They’re purely and simply recruiting camps,” Alleva said in May.
“I just think it’s a terrible idea,” Alleva added. “But if we have to do it, we have to do it. Mainly what I’m concerned about is other schools coming into our state and stealing our kids.”
LSU coach Les Miles said several weeks ago that LSU was planning possible satellite camps in Atlanta, Detroit, Dallas and Houston.
The board NCAA also directed the council to conduct a broad assessment of FBS recruiting, with initial recommendations due 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 Chairman 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.”
Opponents of the camps say they are simply recruiting events held outside the recruiting calendar.
The Big Ten turned out to be the only Power Five conference in the D-I Council to oppose the ban. The Big 12 and Pac-12 joined the SEC and ACC in voting for the ban, even though a significant number of coaches within those conferences favored satellite camps.
Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott later said the conference’s representative on the council did not vote the league’s position in backing the ban.
Earlier this week, Washington State coach Mike Leach said he had hoped the camps would be allowed and give athletes a chance to be seen by more coaches.
“The only reason that they could possibly be against satellite camps is for some selfish motivation of locking other schools out of the opportunity to see their players,” he said. “If we’re going to be a national sport, recruiting and recruiting opportunity need to be on a national scale as well.”
Council Chairman Jim Phillips, a board member and athletic director at Northwestern, said the board’s directives will give the council an opportunity to look at recruiting in a more thorough way.
“It’s clear that the membership has differing views on this subject,” Phillips said. “This review will provide an opportunity to identify the most effective ways prospective student-athletes can have their academic and athletic credentials evaluated by schools across the country.”
Advocate sportswriter Ross Dellenger contributed to this report.