Somewhere, Jim Harbaugh is dancing a jig. And his SEC counterparts are pitching a fit.
Earlier this month, the NCAA Div. 1 council controversially voted to ban the practice of satellite camps. A short time later, NCAA executive Oliver Luck confirmed that the rule would likely be revisited, which it was at a Board of Directors meeting Thursday morning.
Ahead of that meeting, Harbaugh hoped the board “gets it right” by rescinding the ban; coming out of the meeting, the Michigan head coach — along with the rest of the Big Ten and most of the Group of Five conferences, not to mention recruits who will now have more opportunities for additional exposure — will be ecstatic as the board did just that, with the NCAA announcing the directors have “rescinded a rule prohibiting Football Bowl Subdivision coaches from holding or working at camps and clinics away from their school.”
While the lifting of the ban is effective immediately, meaning coaches can continue on with their planned “satellite camps,” it doesn’t mean the issue has completely run its course. The board has requested that the council, which implemented the ban initially, “conduct a broad assessment of the FBS recruiting environment” as well as “consider the entire recruiting model, including potential modifications to camps and clinics participation.”
The Div. 1 council consists of all 10 FBS conferences with the votes of the Power Five leagues (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, SEC) holding twice the weight as their counterparts from the Group of Five (AAC, Conference USA, MAC, MWC, SBC). That group approved the initial ban by a by a 10-5 margin. Those voting for the ban included the SEC, ACC, Big 12, Pac-12, Mountain West and Sun Belt; those against the ban were the Big Ten, AAC, Conference USA and the MAC.
It subsequently surfaced that the Pac-12 representative, UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero, did not vote the way he was supposed to on the satellite camp issue. Prior to that vote, 11 of the 12 schools in that conference were in favor of the status quo and against banning the practice, with UCLA the lone abstention.
The SEC as well as the ACC will no doubt continue stumping against the practice and pushing for the ban to be reimplemented as the camps mostly infringe on “their” recruiting territory. In the meantime, the SEC, at least, is expected to rescind its own conference ban on the camps, allowing its coaching staffs to spread out across the country if they so desire.
For now, however, Harbaugh’s program seems pleased with winning this particular battle in the recruiting war.
Also for now, the practice is back on, with the not-so-thinly-veiled implication, however, that it could be back off at some point in the not-too-distant future.
“The Board of Directors is interested in a holistic review of the football recruiting environment, and camps are a piece of that puzzle,” said Board of Directors chair Harris Pastides, president of the University of South Carolina, in a statement. “We share the Council’s interest in improving the camp environment, and we support the Council’s efforts to create a model that emphasizes the scholastic environment as an appropriate place for recruiting future student-athletes.”
UPDATED 2:34 p.m. ET: Officials from both the ACC and SEC have confirmed to CFT that their bans on satellite camps will be rescinded. The former’s lifting is effective immediately, while the latter’s will go into effect at the end of May.