Team voting can reopen satellite camp issue

Coaches from across the country spent the past week railing against the NCAA's decision to ban satellite camps.

But all the fist shaking and news-conference rants in the world can't do much at this point, right?


The April 8 vote that bans coaches from holding high school camps off campus did not pass by 85 percent majority, which leaves the door open for coaches and athletic directors to try to rescind the vote. Behind closed doors, that's exactly what seems to be happening right now.

Michigan's Jim Harbaugh has been at the forefront of the issue. He said recently that he and his athletic director, Warde Manuel, are working on a plan of action to try to repeal the proposal.

"... We're going to continue to put more thought into it and then have a course of action," Harbaugh said. "Proud that he's taken a lead in that topic. Like Warde said, this is exactly what he said, there's always an urgency in my mind to help kids, our program and, in this case, the sport of football."

One of the options Harbaugh and Manuel have is trying to get a 66.7 percent of the majority of 128 FBS programs to request that the ruling be rescinded within a 60-day override period. Since the original vote only received 66.6 percent approval, well below the required 85 percent, the programs that disagree with the ruling can still get the ban relinquished.

The original vote to ban the camps was done by conference representatives, whereas a reversal would require individual votes from programs. Getting roughly 85 programs to request the repeal might be difficult, but there are a growing number of coaches speaking out against the ban.

That includes Washington State head coach Mike Leach, who said the vote does not reflect the majority opinion among head coaches within the Pac-12 and that he is confused as to how votes were cast seemingly against the favor of the coaches.

"I can't help but wonder if there was some manipulation with this thing, because that doesn't make any sense," Leach said. "I don't know what ivory tower or what cliff these people flew to vote, but this is something out of 'James Bond,' where they got together and voted and plotted taking control of the world. Wherever it was, some lair in the mountains with ice and machinery, a cold Dr. Evil environment where these guys voted on this thing then, at the end, they all put their hands together and did a really weird laugh, because soon they'll be conquering the world.

"That's how I envision this entire thing, and to be perfectly honest, there's more evidence towards that direction than anything legitimate happened with regard to this."

Leach is upset about the outcome because he believes the vote went against what the coaches in his conference agreed upon -- and that the ruling is doing a disservice to the potential student-athletes.

Cincinnati coach Tommy Tuberville shares a similar opinion to Leach and believes there will be enough interest to soon get the vote reversed.

"I think what is happening now is the coaches that see the consequences of it are going to their athletic directors, the athletic directors will go their representatives and everybody will have their conference meetings next month," Tuberville said. "I think this will be on the agenda of every conference meeting. I think you're going to have enough negative input that they're going to say, 'OK, let's table it for a year and rethink it next year and really do the right thing.'"

"The whole thing is based on totally selfish motives with complete 100 percent shear unadulterated disregard for what's best for the potential student-athlete."
Washington State coach Mike Leach

The uproar about the vote comes from taking away the opportunity for coaches to hold camps outside of their campuses and banning coaches from coaching at other institution's camps. Urban Meyer at Ohio State, Nebraska's Mike Riley, Mark Helfrich at Oregon, Oklahoma State's Mike Gundy, Rutgers' Chris Ash, Kyle Whittingham at Utah and a host of other coaches have spoken out publicly against the ban and the negative implications it could have.

The decision limits the visibility and exposure prospects have. It will make it more expensive for recruits to try to continue getting the same exposure as in previous years.

The camps and practice of coaching at other camps isn't new; it has just been magnified by Harbaugh and his staff from their recent nationwide swarm tour that invaded SEC and ACC territory. To Leach, the motive to ban the camps is transparent and is now causing more problems than expected.

"Now everybody has to rally and go on a scavenger hunt, unfold the secret, follow the tracks of who screwed this up and why," he said. "The whole thing is based on totally selfish motives with complete 100 percent shear unadulterated disregard for what's best for the potential student-athlete. These guys voted against this just so they can protect their recruiting base.

"What are these guys afraid of? Here we are, a country with this national sport, and all the sudden you can't come into our region because there's something special about us. How creepy and paranoid is that?"

While the initial backlash was directed at the NCAA, the target has turned toward the conferences that voted in favor of this ban. While four of the five Power 5 conferences voted for the ban, the SEC has received most of the venom. While that might not be fair, Tuberville thinks his former conference will be forced to change.

"When I was in the SEC, we voted against any coach leaving campus, because then we felt that people were on the road too much and there was too much recruiting," Tuberville said. "Now you have camps everywhere and the SEC hasn't changed their mind, and I think a lot of other people have and they would like that opportunity to go out to the camps. To me, everybody should be given the opportunity to go to camps, and if you don't want to go, you don't have to."