Penn State camp arrangement rankles SEC

I had to laugh a bit when I read where SEC coaches were hacked off about Penn State taking part in a football camp at Georgia State. Read here, and here.

The SEC is so stomping mad that it wants the NCAA to close a loop hole that allows schools to participate in such out-of-state camps. The SEC already has such a ban. So, apparently, everyone else should, too.

Some quick background: The NCAA has rules that prohibit schools from running camps out of state more than 50 miles from campus. Penn State skirts the issue since it isn’t hosting the camp. Instead, Franklin and Co., are considered “guests” of the Georgia State staff. Some Big 12 schools (Oklahoma and Oklahoma State) do the same thing with smaller colleges in Texas. It’s called “getting an edge.”

“There have been a lot of schools doing that for years,” Georgia’s coach Mark Richt said Wednesday during SEC spring meetings. “The spirit of that (NCAA) rule is not to have satellite camps all over the place.”

I wonder if the SEC has a beef about Oklahoma and Oklahoma State doing what Penn State is doing? My guess: No, because OU and OSU aren’t coming to the heart of SEC recruiting turf in Atlanta, which is home to Georgia State.

Why do schools do what Penn State is doing? Because it works. If you want the best groceries, you shop at the best grocery stores. The Nittany Lions need talent. The Big Ten, too, as it searches for its first national title since 2002. It wants what the SEC has: college football supremacy. So, the Big Ten needs SEC-caliber talent to have any shot to compete. The talent disparity is glaring. Check out the recent NFL drafts.

Franklin should be applauded for being bold enough to maximize every effort to make his team–and league–better.

It’s called coaching.

It’s called resourcefulness.

It’s called hard work.

And, most of all, it’s called smart.

Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Matthew O’Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Franklin leaves a big wake wherever he goes. SEC coaches know this. They have competed against him. They know he’s aggressive and fearless. The ex-Vanderbilt coach understands the competitive environment of college football’s hottest cauldron.

He knows what it takes to win at the highest level in the nation’s best league. Franklin wants his new to team reach the sport’s highest bar. Adding top talent from the Southeast is another step in the process.

Why should Franklin or any other non-SEC coach suffer because of the SEC’s own rule?

And since when was recruiting fair? While we are at, let’s cap recruiting budgets and personnel—since they differ from school to school. Some coaches can use private jets to recruit. Others can’t afford it. Is that fair?

The SEC has myriad built-in advantages when it comes to talent procurement. Why does it feel threatened by another league looking for an edge in its talent breadbasket? Just compete.

If the SEC doesn’t like it, then it should lift its own ban on such camp arrangements. Better yet, instead of trying to “close a loop hole,” why don’t SEC schools embrace the challenge and help at camps in other talent hot beds outside their area?

SEC coaches know what they are up against in Franklin, who dared to have the audacity to make Vanderbilt competitive in his three seasons in Nashville. Franklin wasn’t gonna roll over and be the SEC’s lap dog. He took the job to win. And, win he did.

Franklin went 24-14 in three seasons at Vandy, including an 11-13 SEC mark and three bowl trips. There also were some delicious wins over SEC heavies like Georgia, Tennessee, Auburn and Florida.

Now, Franklin is driving a bigger, fancier car with the potential to do more than go to the Music City Bowl. Combine that with a breakneck pace that Franklin works at, and you can see why SEC coaches are concerned.

I wonder if SEC coaches would care if any Big Ten program not named Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State or Nebraska did something like this with Georgia State.

I think you know the answer.

Bottom line: The SEC feels threatened. And that’s a good thing.

About Tom Dienhart senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men’s basketball for and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.

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Your Opinion?
Show Comments (7 Comments)
Scott on 5/29/2014 @ 12:35pm EDT Said:

Maybe if the SEC doesn’t like an “unfair playing field,” they should end the practice of oversigning.

Big Bill on 5/29/2014 @ 12:45pm EDT Said:

This isn’t a story. So the SEC is mad that PSU is going to a camp Atlanta? Big deal. So PSU is going to a camp in Atlanta? Big deal.

Dienhart is a fraud. If he was writing for, he would be hopping mad that Penn State was invading SEC territory. Which makes it a non-story on both sides.

Doug Donovan on 5/29/2014 @ 1:03pm EDT Said:

Maybe it’s not that it’s Penn State, but a COACH that WON at Vandy. Recruits might see that if he can win at Vandy, what kind of damage could he do on the national level at Penn State. Could he win a national championship to Happy Valley? Maybe. The SEC is like a spoiled brat, they have always gotten the best, now they’re mad that some kid might take some of their toys away from them.

Bag on 5/29/2014 @ 1:59pm EDT Said:

I think Franklin is doing good things but to use his SEC record as a positive point of emphasis is silly especially his wins against Tennessee (5-7, 5-7) Florida (4-8), Georgia (8-5) Auburn (3-9), in fact of his 11 SEC wins only 2 of them were against teams with a winning record. They also only played Alabama, Auburn, and Texas A&M once in that time span.

Chaz on 5/29/2014 @ 3:22pm EDT Said:

Looks like a clever recruiting ploy. Look out for this guy. He is going to do things at Penn State that might look like anti-traditional but he will get results.

Daniel Revas (@DanielRevas) on 5/30/2014 @ 9:56am EDT Said:

The problem with “Bag on’s” reasoning is that before Franklin took the Vanderbilt job, Vandy would have still lost most of those Games. With Franklin in charge SEC opponents no longer assumed that Vanderbilt was an automatic “W”.

buckeye22 on 5/30/2014 @ 6:48pm EDT Said:

@Bag Seriously? You realize what Vanderbilt had accomplished pre Franklin, right? They had gone 33-85 in the 10 years before he took over. They won 13 conference games in that span. 13 of 80. 24-15/11-13 at Vanderbilt is amazing.