Penn State Football

NCAA rescinds satellite camp ban

Penn State football coach James Franklin talks to the media after spring practice on Wednesday April 13, 2016.
Penn State football coach James Franklin talks to the media after spring practice on Wednesday April 13, 2016. adrey@centredaily.com

In a release from the NCAA sent out on Thursday afternoon, the organization announced its decision to rescind a ban placed on satellite camps earlier this month.

“The Division I board of directors today rescinded a rule prohibiting Football Bowl Subdivision coaches from holding or working at camps and clinics away from their school, adopted earlier this month by the Division I Council,” it said.

“The camps and clinics rule received widespread attention after its adoption, with supporters contending the rule would keep coaches on campus with current student-athletes and steer recruiting toward the scholastic environment,” the release added. “Detractors believe the camps provide opportunities for previously un-recruited student-athletes to be noticed by high-profile coaches and possibly receive scholarships.”

Penn State athletics released its own statement regarding the overturn of the ban to the Centre Daily Times on Thursday afternoon:

“We are pleased with this decision,” the statement said. “Penn State staunchly believes that intercollegiate athletics should be providing opportunities for coaches to instruct more potential student-athletes, which helps familiarize themselves with their college choices.”

The original ban of the camps provoked public backlash from Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh, who, alongside Penn State’s James Franklin, helped mold satellite camps (which have traditionally been around for almost a decade) into their current headline-grabbing state.

“Historically, coaches used camps and clinics primarily to provide skill instruction to young people and generate revenue,” said the release. “Actual recruiting activities are prohibited at camps and clinics, and the events have not been subject to recruiting calendars. Over time, camps and clinics have increasingly been viewed as a recruiting tool.”

We are pleased with this decision. Penn State staunchly believes that intercollegiate athletics should be providing opportunities for coaches to instruct more potential student-athletes, which helps familiarize themselves with their college choices.

Penn State Athletics, on the overturn of the NCAA satellite camp ban

Franklin weighed in on the ban after a spring practice earlier this month.

“We got two kids out of Georgia who came to our camp,” he said, referring to kicker and punter signees Alex Barbir and Blake Gillikin, both of whom will fill positions that desperately need scholarship players. “How significant the impact is, I don’t know. But I sure am glad we got that kicker and punter coming in.”

The head coach reaffirmed his reasoning behind originally championing the camps, but said he was “OK” with the NCAA’s original ruling to ban the camps.

“As you guys know, we’re a little isolated here,” said Franklin. “(State College is) not the easiest place to get into or out of, so if we have the opportunity to go somewhere else and interact with certain kids and certain families at certain schools, we’d like to do that. So, we did it.

“The rule now is not legal, so now everybody’s back on a level playing field. I’m OK either way. I think you could make arguments in both directions for it. I’m OK with it. I like the fact that we’re gonna be back on campus. It allows me and our coaches to spend more time with our players here on campus, reinforcing academics, spending time with them, building relationships. It also allows us more time to spend with our families, so I love those aspects of it.”

Harbaugh, on the other hand, spoke with a fair amount of vehemence on the ban, around which swirled speculation that the SEC and ACC, among others, were worried about the “advantage” given Harbaugh in the Big Ten if he were able to continue interacting with recruits out of Michigan’s traditional region and the allotted recruiting timetable at these camps.

“It seems to be outrage by the SEC and ACC,” he told Sports Illustrated. “They power-brokered that out ... the image that comes to my mind is guys in a back room smoking cigars, doing what they perceive is best for them. It certainly isn’t the best thing for the youngsters. It’s not the best thing for the student-athletes.”

Penn State athletic director Sandy Barbour also took a strong vocal stance on the situation last week while speaking to the Associated Press Sports Editors regional conference in State College.

“I think it’s a shame on a number of different levels,” she said. “One is that there’s no doubt that the ACC and the SEC, their opposition is around trying to protect an inherent advantage that they have.”

After the original ruling, a 10-5 vote, and the public outcry that followed from coaches, players and fans alike, ESPN reported that Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said representative (and UCLA athletic director) Dan Guerrero “voted the wrong way” and was the one school out of the 12 in the conference that voted in favor of the ban.

But ultimately, the board decided to rescind the ban, stating additionally that “holistic recruiting practices” will be evaluated as a “broad assessment of the FBS recruiting environment,” as directed by the members of the council.

Finally, both the SEC and ACC announced as a result that they would be lifting restrictions on these camps within their own conferences thus allowing coaches within the conference to participate in satellite camps across the country.

Jourdan Rodrigue: 814-231-4629, @JourdanRodrigue

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