DESTIN, Fla. (AP) — Southeastern Conference football coaches want the NCAA to close a loophole that allows schools to take part in out-of-state summer camps with high school prospects.
Penn State and new coach James Franklin caused a stir down south when it was announced earlier this month that the Nittany Lions' staff would be working with prospects at Georgia State's camp in Atlanta on June 10.
NCAA rules prohibit schools from running camps out of state more than 50 miles from their campus. Penn State's presence at Georgia State's camp doesn't break the rule because the Nittany Lions are considered guests of the Panthers' staff.
The SEC has a league rule prohibiting coaches from being guest at another school's camp.
"There have been a lot of schools doing that for years," Georgia football coach Mark Richt said Wednesday during SEC spring meetings. "The spirit of that (NCAA) rule is not to have satellite camps all over the place."
SEC coaches are concerned that more schools will be encroaching on their fertile recruiting territory if the rules aren't reformed.
Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin raised the issue last year at SEC meetings. Oklahoma and Oklahoma State have routinely partnered with small schools in Texas to make their presence felt in the talent-rich Lone Star State.
Franklin's reach into Georgia brought even more attention to the issue. Franklin moved to Penn State after three seasons at Vanderbilt, where he was able to build recruiting relationships around the South.
Georgia State and coach Trent Miles benefit from the relationship with Penn State by drawing more and better players to their camp.
"To me, what I'm seeing is a loophole in that if another school sponsors a camp — Georgia Camp featuring Penn State coaches — or some Division II schools in Texas featuring Oklahoma's coaches or Oklahoma State's coaches or Texas' coaches and then just barnstorming all around the place," Richt said. "The rule says that everybody's camp should be on their own institution, so it's basically people finding a way around that rule. We think the rule was set for a reason and it ought to stay that way."
Kentucky coach Mark Stoops, who has had great success recruiting in Ohio since taking over the Wildcats after the 2012 season, said if the SEC coaches can't get the NCAA to close the loophole he would prefer the league lift its ban on guest coaching at other campuses.
"I don't want to speak for everybody in the room, but from what I heard in there is most of our coaches would be in favor of at least being on an even playing field," Stoops said.