Alabama's Nick Saban calls satellite camps 'ridiculous'

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News

Alabama coach Nick Saban isn't a fan of programs, like Michigan, taking advantage of a loophole in NCAA rules that allows Jim Harbaugh and his coaching staff to travel around the country working "satellite" football camps.

Michigan recently announced that Harbaugh, in his first season with the Wolverines, will launch a "Summer Swarm Tour", including nine camp visits around the country, on June 4 in Indianapolis. It concludes locally on June 12 with the Sound Mind Sound Body camp. The staff will work camps in Texas, Florida, Alabama, Pennsylvania, California and Michigan.

Southeastern Conference coaches, however, are opposed to these satellite camps because the SEC doesn't allow the practice.

"If we're all going to travel all over the country to have satellite camps, you know, how ridiculous is that?" Alabama coach Nick Saban asked, according to a report Wednesday on Saban spoke Tuesday evening in Huntsville, Alabama.

"I mean, we're not allowed to go to all-star games, but now we're going to have satellite camps all over the country. So it doesn't really make sense."

Greg Sankey, the incoming SEC commissioner, discussed the camps, which he calls "recruiting tours", during an Associated Press Sports Editors' Southeast Region meeting in Alabama, according to

"As we remember camps, they were instructional and development opportunities," Sankey said. "Now, what we're talking about is recruiting tours. So let's just be clear about what we're really talking about here."

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney told reporters Wednesday this is a loophole "people are taking advantage of."

"I don't think it's a good thing," Swinney said. "Ultimately what happens is instead of camps you are having a combine."

According to NCAA bylaws, football coaches can only conduct camps and clinics within a 50-mile radius of their campus. But the loophole allows coaches to be "guest instructors" at another institution.

Penn State coach James Franklin and his staff participated in two satellite camps last season. Ohio State coach Urban Meyer was asked last week at a news conference about camps.

"Am I fan of that? Not really," Meyer said. "A big lure to Ohio State is getting here on campus."

But Meyer added Ohio State might consider a camp.

"If it helps us, we'll do it," Meyer said. "I think we might try one this year. I don't know if it's been finalized. You'll certainly hear about it if we do."