Two days after an NCAA committee killed satellite camps, the #ChangeNCAA movement was born.
Current, former and future college football players, mostly from the Big Ten footprint, took to Twitter on Sunday and voiced their displeasure with Friday's ruling that FBS programs could only participate in camps held on campus or at their regular competition facilities. Players correctly argued that the banning of so-called satellite camps reduced exposure opportunities, especially for those unable to afford unofficial visits to many schools.
Former Michigan State cornerback Arjen Colquhoun fired off a series of tweets explaining how without the Sound Mind, Sound Body Football Academy held annually in Detroit, which draws coaches from around the region, he might never have had the opportunity to play in the Big Ten.
Im a product of sound mind sound body. I was a Canadian kid overlooked in a big sea of D1 talent in the states and I made a name for myself.— Arjen Colquhoun (@thecanuck36) April 10, 2016
overlooked, UNDERRATED...until I caught the eye of coaches who wanted to WIN just as bad as me and wouldn't leave any stone unturned.— Arjen Colquhoun (@thecanuck36) April 10, 2016
Other Sound Mind, Sound Body products chimed in, like Ohio State running back Mike Weber.
Michigan cornerback Jourdan Lewis addressed an important point: Friday's ruling was not solely about silencing Wolverines coach Jim Harbaugh, whose attention-grabbing satellite camp tour to the South last spring upset folks in the SEC and ACC. As Dan Murphy wrote Friday, Harbaugh and Michigan will be among the least impacted by the ban. Michigan doesn't need satellite camps to recruit nationally at an elite level.
We can't let the NCAA do this. Everybody get #ChangeNCAA trending. They think they're hurting Coach but they're really hurting the kids.— Jourdan Lewis (@JourdanJD) April 10, 2016
Big Ten fans should applaud players for taking a stand against the ban. They also should be wondering why the league's coaches generally don't push harder for changes as a united group.
Although the Big Ten was the only Power 5 conference that supported the continuation of satellite camps, Northwestern's Pat Fitzgerald was the only Big Ten coach who voiced his opposition to the ruling (to be fair, we already know how Harbaugh feels). Fitzgerald noted how many college coaches attend the Chicagoland Showcase event held on Northwestern's campus.
Disappointed to read satellite camp news-better solutions than a ban- will hurt PSA's & Group of 5 schools. pic.twitter.com/fhmEDnn2ve— Pat Fitzgerald (@coachfitz51) April 8, 2016
Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz actually agreed with the banning of camps, saying Friday that they should be confined to campus. It's hard to fault Ferentz for expressing how he feels, but it illustrates a lack of unity among Big Ten coaches to push for what's best for most of the league.
This is important to remember in the wake of what is being billed as another victory for the SEC, which led the charge against the ban.
Before sending me those ESPN-props-up-the-SEC messages you love to write, read this:
One reason the SEC often gets what it wants is because it takes aggressive, unified positions on issues. The SEC coaches might despise one another in some areas, but they stand with each other on items affecting their league. Not every SEC coach felt satellite camps were evil, but you didn't hear them wavering from the league's position.
The satellite camp decision was supposed to be included in a series of rulings/reforms following a sweeping review of topics such as the recruiting calendar, initial eligibility, roster sizes, staff sizes and time demands. But the SEC and ACC pushed for an earlier decision on this singular item. Conversely, when the Big Ten first proposed an early signing period in recruiting, the other leagues pushed to table a vote until after a review. So it was done.
"From a Big Ten perspective, we were hoping for a comprehensive review," Northwestern athletic director Jim Phillips, the chair of the NCAA's Division I council and the Big Ten's representative on the group, told ESPN.com. "We felt this was similar to other issues in college football that we had agreed on for a holistic, comprehensive review. There was a decision made by a couple of conferences that that couldn’t wait."
Call it whining or lobbying or just being loud. It's also effective.
But enough about the SEC. Big Ten fans would rather sing their rival's fight song than try to emulate the dreaded SEC.
So here's a thought: demand stronger positions from the Big Ten coaches. They've been too diplomatic, wishy-washy at times, or motivated by individual interests rather than league ones.
Satellite camps aren't that big of a deal. Changing the recruiting calendar, meanwhile, is critical for a league fighting geographical challenges. Recruits are committing earlier than ever, and with more prospect concentrations in areas far from Big Ten country, it puts many Big Ten coaches at a disadvantage if they can't get these players on campus.
Does every Big Ten school desperately need a change? No. But this is a case where even those who don't, like Ohio State coach Urban Meyer, should support what's best for the majority of the league. A voice like Meyer's, even if he's not the leading voice, would help.
Big Ten players showed Sunday what a unified front looks like. It's time for the coaches and other league officials to dig in.
You know the SEC would.