Report: NCAA considering alternative to satellite camps

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News

The NCAA is considering changes to its rules regarding satellite camps that could impact Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh and his staff.

Harbaugh has undertaken an ambitious schedule of camps this month with more than three dozen, including camps in Australia and American Samoa.

According to a story Friday in the Virginian-Pilot, which through the Freedom of Information Act obtained a copy of the multiple potential rules changes discussed at the Conference USA spring meetings, the NCAA is considering banning satellite camps and replacing them with camps it would sponsor at NFL training centers and high schools.

If the camps are not banned, according the story, it is possible there will be a rule limiting the schedule to 10 days, as opposed to the current 30 days.

While Harbaugh has gone all-in on the camps, Alabama coach Nick Saban has called the camp atmosphere the “wild, wild West.”

Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel on Thursday said Harbaugh’s satellite tour this June will cost an estimated $350,000.

Manuel fully supports Harbaugh’s ambitious camp schedule.

“Given the amount of effort they’re putting in, the amount of contact they’re making with kids across this country, getting them excited about football and the things that we’re doing teaching them the game the right way, talking to them about not only football but the need to perform academically and do the things they’re doing, to me it’s a great investment in what we need to be doing,” he said.

“I’ve said all along and I’ll continue to say and Jim has said since he’s been out there, that he knows, before he went out on the road, he knows 95 percent, maybe more, of the kids we want to recruit at the University of Michigan. In my mind, I’m willing to invest because Michigan has a role of really supporting and promoting what we think is the right thing to do.

“He’s out there teaching the game the right way with our coaches. He’s out there promoting the game of football, which is important to me, to him and to Michigan and so for us it is an investment that’s worth it. He’s investing so much of his time and so much of his staff’s time to do this. I fight every time I’m asked about it this idea that it’s just about recruiting and it’s just about Jim. He doesn’t need that if it was just about him. We don’t need that to know who we’re going to recruit. That’s an important piece to talk about as it relates to the expenditure and the investment we’re making.”

Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz hasn’t been a strong supporter of camps and in April mentioned discussions of a combine-type atmosphere, where college coaches and recruiters would be there just observing.

“So the kids would still get the exposure,” Ferentz said in April. “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.”