SEC beats Harbaugh as NCAA bans satellite football camps

MGN. NCAA Basketball

The NCAA announced Friday it was barring football coaches from participating in camps on other campuses, siding with the Southeastern Conference in its high-profile dispute with Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh and others holding so-called satellite camps.

The Division I Council approved a proposal requiring Bowl Subdivision schools “to conduct camps and clinics at their school’s facilities or at facilities regularly used for practice or competition,” the NCAA said. “Additionally, FBS coaches and non-coaching staff members with responsibilities specific to football may be employed only at their school’s camps or clinics.”

The change was effective immediately.

The SEC and Atlantic Coast Conference already ban their coaches from working at football camps away from their campuses. The Big Ten and other conferences do not. Some coaches, most notably Harbaugh, have been trying to make recruiting inroads in the South by guest coaching at camps help at colleges and high schools.

Earlier this week, new Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel said satellite camps are good for prospective college athletes.

“The benefit is to the kids to get the exposure to great coaching and coaches from around the country,” Manuel told The Associated Press before the ruling. “It also gives different coaches from around the country an exposure to kids in those regions. As opposed to saying, well, if you’re interested in Coach Harbaugh having to look at you, you have to get on a plane, sign up for camp, pay for overnight hotel or pay for an overnight camp, in order to participate and get an opportunity to have Coach Harbaugh or any of our coaches interact with you.”

SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey was strongly against what he called “recruiting camps,” but said his league was prepared to lift its restrictions unless the NCAA stepped in. The SEC is in the most fertile football recruiting territory in the country, so its coaches don’t necessarily need to venture outside the league’s footprint for talent. If anything, permitting satellite camps might have led to SEC coaches encroaching on each other’s turf.

The bickering over satellite camps started in 2014, when Penn State coach James Franklin and his staff worked at camps held in Florida and Georgia. Ohio State jumped on board, sending coaches to Florida Atlantic.

Harbaugh took it to another level, going on a satellite camp tour last year that passed through Georgia, Florida, Alabama and Texas.

“I don’t see the negative to that,” Manuel said. “Yes, the coaches would spend more time or the assistant coaches would spend more time (traveling). But in many cases they’re doing camps on their own campuses at different times of the year anyway.”

Notes: The Division I Council approved a proposal to clarify academic integrity rules and make clearer when the NCAA should be involved in a case of academic misconduct involving athletes. … The council tabled a proposal that would allow NCAA championship events to be held in states that permit gambling on college sports and deregulated electronic communication with prospective athletes who participate in football, cross country, track and field and swimming and diving.

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