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Harbaugh blasts ‘knee jerk’ decision to ban camps

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh has finally broken his silence regarding the NCAA Council’s vote to ban satellite camps, unleashing his anger in an interview with Sports Illustrated on Tuesday.

Satellite camps were a way for a school like Michigan to take its football staff on the road and expose players who might not be able to afford attending a camp at Michigan a chance to experience the program in a small way. And for the coaches, the camps were a way to identify under-the-radar talent.

Harbaugh told SI the ruling was “knee-jerk ... like somebody was shaving in the morning, cut themselves when they were shaving and said, ‘Let’s just ban satellite camps.’

“I mean, what’s it based on? A survey? There wasn’t a lot of discussion or study. What are the facts? What are the perils and merits of making that decision? It just seemed lacking in that regard.”

The NCAA decision was revealed last Friday and extends to all FBS programs.

“This is going to affect thousands and thousands of people,” Harbaugh said.

Dantonio: I wasn’t singling out UM with ‘abuse’ comment

Harbaugh took this a step further and said college athletics should abandon the term “student-athlete.”

“During the NCAA basketball tournament we discuss the term ‘student-athlete’ ad nauseam in promoting our governing institution and our member institutions,” Harbaugh told SI. “Then, when we have an opportunity to truly promote the ‘student-athlete’ with a concept shared by educators and football men from all backgrounds, our leadership goes into hiding.

“I suggest we drop the term ‘student-athlete’ for consistency.”

Washington State coach Mike Leach defended satellite camps and Harbaugh during a national radio appearance on Monday.

“It sounds to me a whole bunch of people need to worry about what they’re doing instead of what Jim Harbaugh is doing,” Leach told Sirius XM College Sports. “They need to coach their team and let Jim Harbaugh coach his. If Jim Harbaugh wants to do satellite camps, great. If he wants to do satellite camps wherever he wants to do them, great.”

Harbaugh went on to rip the ACC and the SEC. Both were responsible for bringing the camp-related proposals to the table.

“The image that comes to my mind is guys in a back room smoking cigars, doing what they perceive is best for them,” Harbaugh said. “It certainly isn’t the best thing for the youngsters.”

Leach: ‘Petty jealousies’ of Harbaugh led to camp ban

Harbaugh also went after Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze. Freeze, in a story reported Sunday by the Clarion-Ledger, said he had camps lined up in Dallas, Houston and Atlanta with other Division I programs, but told the paper he ultimately was pleased the camps are banned.

“I’m selfish with my time,” Freeze told the Clarion-Ledger. “I’m away from my family enough, and I just did not want to go. I was ready to. We would’ve jumped in with the rest of them and gone to work. But I’m glad we can have a camp and I can sleep at home.”

This doesn’t sit well with Harbaugh.

“You’ve got a guy sitting in a big house, making $5 million a year, saying he does not want to sacrifice his time,” Harbaugh told SI. “That is not a kindred spirit to me. What most of these coaches are saying is they don’t want to work harder.” @chengelis