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Jim Harbaugh blasts NCAA, SEC and ACC over satellite camp ban

The Michigan head coach did not mince words when discussing the now-banned practice.

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh was one of the most public proponents of satellite camps, a practice that was recently banned by the NCAA. Harbaugh spoke with Sports Illustrated's Michael Rosenberg, and he had lots of pointed criticisms for everyone involved with the camp ban.

"During the NCAA basketball tournament we discuss the term 'student-athlete' ad nauseam in promoting our governing institution and our member institutions. Then, when we have an opportunity to truly promote the 'student-athlete' with a concept shared by educators and football men from all backgrounds, our leadership goes into hiding.

"I suggest we drop the term 'student-athlete' for consistency."

One of the biggest problems with the satellite camp ban is that the biggest losers in the whole ordeal were the kids attending them. College coaches can't have eyes everywhere, and these camps were a good way for kids that otherwise wouldn't have been seen to get some evaluation time and draw attention to themselves. It allowed prospects to be seen by coaches from multiple schools at once, and helped alleviate the travel costs that many families across the country either struggle to afford, or simply can't.

Harbaugh's statements certainly come from a place of self-interest. Michigan wasn't the first school to conduct satellite camps across the country, but they became the most notable with their multi-stop "Summer Swarm" tour in 2015.

Harbaugh later turned his attention to the SEC and ACC, which both vocally opposed satellite camps, and had some sharp words for Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze* in particular.

"It seems to be outrage by the SEC and ACC," Harbaugh says. "They power-brokered that out ... the image that comes to my mind is guys in a back room smoking cigars, doing what they perceive is best for them. It certainly isn't the best thing for the youngsters. It's not the best thing for the student-athletes."

Harbaugh saw Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze say, "I'm away from my family enough, and I just did not want to go," and it did not sit well with him.

Says Harbaugh: "You've got a guy sitting in a big house, making $5 million a year, saying he does not want to sacrifice his time. That is not a kindred spirit to me. What most of these coaches are saying is they don't want to work harder."

A bowl game between Michigan and Ole Miss would be fine, thank you.

*For what it's worth, Freeze has already expressed regret about how the ban was implemented.