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Bret Bielema 'looking at' the Bahamas, Europe for possible Arkansas satellite camps

Is a return of shirtless BERT incoming?

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema is known and beloved -- or, well, certainly the known part, at least -- in the college football ecosystem for his garrulousness and shirtlessness. In a pair of Thursday media availabilities, the former hinted at the likelihood of the latter coming to The Bahamas or Europe for an Arkansas satellite camp.

Bielema said Thursday, both during an SEC coaches conference call and shortly thereafter at a local press conference, Arkansas is joining the satellite camp madness and joining it with a headfirst dive. The NCAA lifted the ban on satellite camps last month and the league in which Arkansas plays followed suit, saying, basically, "if everyone else is doing it…"

By his count, Bielema has been offered 84 different opportunities to hold camps across the country. Arkansas is even considering holding a camp outside the United States. Primarily he is looking at Bahamas and perhaps locations in Europe.

There's no video of his press conference nor audio of his appearance on an SEC conference call publicly available on the Internet, alas, so it's not entirely clear whether there was at least a tinge of sarcasm to what Bielema said. But this is being reported as straight news by those who were in the room, so it is apparently not merely a fever dream.

Whether Arkansas would get much out of a satellite camp in the Bahamas or Europe is worth discussing.

If bringing a camp to where talent is -- the oft-cited reason for the satellite camp locations in talent-rich Florida that Big Ten schools like Michigan have planned -- is actually a goal here, neither the Old Continent nor the island nation make much sense. Eric Bolin of the Arkansas News notes that the Razorbacks do have a European on their roster, Danish offensive lineman Hjalte Froholdt, but he attended IMG Academy in Florida for high school. And there were only a handful of Bahamian players at the FBS level in 2015, with only a couple more committing to schools on National Signing Day in February.

And Arkansas also having plans to camp in Houston, New Orleans, Chicago, Florida, Michigan, and Ohio, per SB Nation's Arkansas Fight, suggests that further-flung camps might serve a different purpose.

Certainly, though, the Razorbacks would make a splash by coaching Bahamian and European players, and they could set themselves up for some future influx of talent by being the first to plant a flag in a different territory. And if the oft-forgotten reason for satellite camps to exist -- teaching football to young players, rather than the establishment of spheres of influence in the grander recruiting realpolitik -- is truly something on Bielema's mind, or his school's, well, bully for them, because coaches from an SEC staff are probably capable of providing better coaching than less-experienced coaches in, say, Switzerland.

Either way, though, Bielema would undoubtedly enjoy some of the non-football advantages of decamping from Arkansas to camp elsewhere. He vacations in the Bahamas with friends and former assistants Dave Doeren of NC State and Charlie Partridge of Florida Atlantic, per Arkansas Fight, and he's tweeted about one of those trips before.