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Nick Saban, Dabo Swinney the latest coaches in the South to oppose this recruiting tactic

Big Ten coaches have been steadily creeping into SEC territory with a practice SEC schools aren't allowed to use.

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama head coach Nick Saban and Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney joined a long list of southern college football coaches speaking out against satellite camps used by northern programs.

Saban suggested a rules change for what he called a competitive disadvantage, saying "it's something we ought to look at from an NCAA standpoint."

"But if we're all going to travel all over the country to have satellite camps, how ridiculous is that?" Saban said. "I mean we're not allowed to go to all-star games, but now we're going to have satellite camps all over the country. So it doesn't really make sense."

Swinney made his displeasure known during Wednesday's ACC teleconference, becoming the first non-SEC coach to oppose the practice on record. The SEC is the only conference that bans the practice.

So what's happening?

The best recruiting territories nearly unilaterally reside in the South. Not all of college football's major programs reside in the South. As a result, some of the more adventurous programs up north have recently begun to hold "satellite camps" in southern states.

Penn State head coach James Franklin worked camps in Atlanta and Florida last offseason, and told ESPN what he hoped to accomplish with the event.

"Our thought was that the Big Ten and NCAA rules allow you to do these things," Franklin said. "And we wanted to not only have camps on our campus -- which we're going to have a bunch of them -- but also be able to maybe take the Penn State brand and be able to take it to part of the country [where] maybe young men and families wouldn't be able to make it to our place. And I'm fired up about it. It seems like the high school coaches are as well."

More recently, new Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh grabbed a commitment from Alabama and will be hosting a camp there this summer. The Wolverines will be hosting nearly a dozen camps nationally in June.

Franklin's camps caught complaints from Kentucky's Mark Stoops, Ole Miss's Hugh Freeze and Mississippi State's Dan Mullen. Harbaugh's Alabama camp caused Auburn's Gus Malzahn to speak out.

"I think the SEC coaches last year made it clear that we'd like it to be that way throughout the country," Malzahn said. "That was a stance after our last spring meetings and I still feel the same."

SEC programs have a considerable amount of inherent advantages in the recruiting game, but northern programs may have just found one way to get an edge of their own. If Saban and the other coaches have their way, we'll see just how long that lasts.