The NCAA has moved to ban traveling "satellite camps" for the country's highest level of college football, preventing teams from holding camps for high school players anywhere but on their own campuses. The rule change is effective immediately, so schools with previously scheduled satellite camps won't be able to hold them.
The rule change is part of a larger "academic integrity" proposal adopted by the NCAA's policy-making Division I Council and announced on Friday. From the NCAA's official release on the matter:
The Council approved a proposal applicable to the Football Bowl Subdivision that would require those schools to conduct camps and clinics at their school's facilities or at facilities regularly used for practice or competition. Additionally, FBS coaches and noncoaching staff members with responsibilities specific to football may be employed only at their school's camps or clinics. This rule change is effective immediately.
Satellite camps seem like – or, rather, seemed like – effective mechanisms for college coaches to take their programs on the road and sell them to recruits.
For teams from barren recruiting areas, they were a helpful tool. But for teams in talent-laden states, they were a threat. That's why this is such a big win for the SEC, which now won't have to watch coaches like Michigan's Jim Harbaugh venture onto "their" turf and draw easy attention from elite local talent.
Source told @ESPN conferences that voted against satellite camps: ACC, Big 12, SEC, Pac-12, MWC, Sun Belt. In favor: B1G, AAC, C-USA, MAC— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) April 8, 2016
Southern conferences and those with strong bases in California and Texas supported the ban. Those happen to be hotbeds for football recruits, which might draw in satellite camps from farther-off schools.
The ban also bars coaches from being employed at other schools' camps and clinics, which means Harbaugh and Michigan's planned pow-wow with Art Briles and Baylor in June is likely off.
The issue is separate from traveling spring break practices.
The NCAA is banning road-show camps for high school and other outside amateur talent, but there's no legislation here that says coaches can't move their teams off campus for otherwise-sanctioned practice sessions. It is possible, however, for such a move to come later.
This is clearly a move to satisfy athletic administrators and coaches worried about losing out on top players.
But some programs made satellite camps work well for them while they could, like Penn State's James Franklin:
"There are programs that have been doing [satellite camps] for 10 years. But when we did it last year, it made national headlines," Franklin says. "We're doing it again [in Atlanta, Charlotte and elsewhere], and it's still making national headlines. And other people are doing it now, because the rules allow you to do it.
"I would not be serving Penn State the right way if I wasn't doing everything within the NCAA and Big Ten rules to give us a chance to be successful."
There's also a case that satellite camps were good deals for players, despite the SEC's complaints.
South Florida coach Willie Taggart explains:
"I think the wrong message has been put out. No one's really talking about how good it is for the kids. If you really think about it, this is the right thing to do. Kids are going to camps all over the country, spending all this money to try and get the most amount of exposure, when it's the schools that have all the money.
"The schools should be moving around so the players can get a larger variety of teams."
Some who benefited from the camps aren't happy about it, along with at least one Power 5 head coach.
Without the satellite camps I might not be headed in the direction that I am right now...#GBR ⚪️— Dicaprio Bootle (@_flightsdelayed) April 8, 2016
That's how I got Boise State and how you can expose yourself to college coaches without paying expenses. Stupid https://t.co/dFDzAVODH8— ❄Deandre Pierce❄ (@its_rayray4) April 8, 2016
Disappointed to read satellite camp news-better solutions than a ban- will hurt PSA's & Group of 5 schools. pic.twitter.com/fhmEDnn2ve— Pat Fitzgerald (@coachfitz51) April 8, 2016