Dienhart: NCAA bans satellite camps, and it's not right

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Dienhart: NCAA bans satellite camps, and it's not right

The SEC is afraid of Jim Harbaugh. It’s frightened, scared to death of the guy in the blue ball cap and khakis.

How else to explain the ban of satellite camps handed down by the NCAA today? Let’s go ahead and call it the “Harbaugh Rule,” because that’s who it’s aimed at.

The SEC’s fear of Big Bad Jim mushroomed when he conducted a raft of satellite camps last year in the Southeast in an effort to coach young players and to help procure talent. Seems smart, right?

After all, Harbaugh is a football coach who is paid gobs of money to win games … and championships. To accomplish his goals and to keep his bosses happy, Harbaugh needs great players. Satellite camps helped him in this regard. Harbaugh is just a hard-working coach who is looking for an edge. Any school could do it.

Harbaugh and his staff would serve as guest instructors at camps, imparting their knowledge onto kids and other staffs in attendance in addition to eyeballing some top talent in the most fertile recruiting base in the nation: The South.

Hey, if coaches in the South wanted to conduct satellite camps in the North, East or West, I don’t think Harbaugh would have given a rip. Heck, he may have helped SEC schools set them up.

Harbaugh didn’t come up with the satellite camp concept, but you’d sure think so. What Harbaugh did do was maximize the potential of the events and raise their profile. Kudos to him.

“There are programs that have been doing [satellite camps] for 10 years,” Penn State coach James Franklin told SBNation last year. “But when we did it last year, it made national headlines. 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.”

Now, satellite camps are dead. The SEC got its way. Take a bow.

Big Ten schools aren’t the only losers in this ban. The high school kids also have been hosed. Remember them? The athletes looking to get coached up and get noticed to maybe earn a scholarship? These camps exposed players to many coaches. With Michigan there, they became big events. Maybe some student-athletes got noticed and were given scholarships because of the exposure of having a program like Michigan help run a camp.

Now, those opportunities are gone.

Another benefit to high schools: convenience. Many kids can’t afford to attend camps at faraway places. It’s expensive to travel from, say, Atlanta to Ann Arbor, Mich., for a camp.

The SEC doesn’t care about any of that. It’s just worried about limiting access to the talent in its region. Pretty petty. SEC honks will give you a different spin. But, don’t believe it. This is a case of NIMBY: Not In My Back Yard.

“I think the wrong message has been put out,” South Florida coach Willie Taggart told SBNation last year. “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.”

Tom Dienhart, BTN.com Senior Writer

About Tom Dienhart: BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men's basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, and send him questions to his weekly mailbag.

Advertisement

BTN Plus on BTN2Go

BTN Plus on BTN2Go

all times ET
Tomorrow
7:00 PMJames Madison at RutgersWatch
Tuesday Dec 6
7:00 PMC. Michigan at PurdueWatch
7:00 PMTowson at MarylandWatch
8:00 PMIdaho St. at WisconsinWatch
8:00 PMDrake at NebraskaWatch
Wednesday Dec 7
7:00 PMSouthern at Ohio St.Watch
8:00 PMIowa St. at IowaWatch
Thursday Dec 8
6:30 PMSt. Peter's at MarylandWatch

Watch hundreds of live non-televised Big Ten events via BTN Plus on BTN2Go.