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Ferentz: Satellite camps used to cast recruiting net

Matt Charboneau
The Detroit News
Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz

The Big Ten held the first of two days spring conference calls with coaches and players on Wednesday, and not surprisingly, the topic of satellite camps came up.

Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald spoke out a few days ago criticizing the move by the NCAA to ban the camps, saying coaching staffs can only work camps on their own campus. On Wednesday, Nebraska’s Mike Riley agreed, saying he hopes there is further discussion.

But Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz, however, isn’t exactly following the company line with the Big Ten being the only Power Five conference to vote in support of satellite camps.

In fact, he thinks they’ve been used more for coaches to expand their recruiting area than anything.

“Quite frankly I think a lot of the satellite camps they were really more motivated by recruiting initiatives more than anything else,” he said. “I think that’s kind of stating the obviously.”

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Most Big Ten coaches have pointed out that the new rule limits opportunities for players, and Ferentz believes there are ways to continue to create more chances for high school prospects.

“I know there’s been some discussion at least behind the scenes about more of a combine type atmosphere where the college coaches and recruiters would be out of the process, just observing at a combine so the kids would still get the exposure,” Ferentz said. “The athletes would have a chance to show what they can do so to speak but the coaches wouldn’t be involved from a recruiting aspect.”

The issue came to the forefront last summer when Jim Harbaugh and his Michigan staff went on its “Swarm Tour.”

That, Ferentz indicated, made the issue a much bigger deal than it had ever been.

“One curious thing about this whole discussion to me is that three years ago nobody really cared about satellite camps,” Ferentz said. “There were some people who were doing it. I know Oklahoma has been doing it for quite a long (time), Texas. We really kind of borrowed the idea from them a couple years back, but it was not really much of a talking point on a national front and now all of a sudden it sparked a real controversy apparently.

“Me personally, I prefer they be done on campuses. (It is) my preference that they’d be administered and run by personnel of that university, no third parties. To me that would be a better deal.”

Twitter: @mattcharboneau