NCAA Reverses Rule Banning Satellite Camps

April 29, 2016

Three weeks after the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Division I Council voted to ban Football Bowl Subdivision coaches from hosting or participating in camps and clinics located away from their campuses, the Division I Board of Directors has reversed the new rule.

Historically, the NCAA said, “coaches used camps and clinics primarily to provide skill instruction to young people and generate revenue.” While official recruiting activities are not allowed at the camps, they are increasingly viewed as a recruiting tool. The Division I Council voted to ban the so-called satellite camps after the University of Michigan’s head football coach, Jim Harbaugh, rankled rival coaches and commissioners in other conferences by attending camps near their institutions last year.

The rule change was praised by officials in those leagues, in particular the Southeastern Conference, which already had a rule barring its own members from taking part in the camps. Critics, however, argued it was unfair to limit unrecruited athletes’ opportunities to be discovered by college coaches. Last week, USA Today reported that the U.S. Department of Justice was looking into whether the ban was legal.

“The Board of Directors is interested in a holistic review of the football recruiting environment, and camps are a piece of that puzzle,” Harris Pastides, president of the University of South Carolina and the board’s chair, said in a statement. “We share the council’s interest in improving the camp environment, and we support the council’s efforts to create a model that emphasizes the scholastic environment as an appropriate place for recruiting future student-athletes.”

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