The SEC and the young people

Hugh Freeze runs smack dab into the law of unintended consequences:

When Hugh Freeze coached at tiny Lambuth University, he sent coaches to work camps at bigger schools. He did the same when he coached at Arkansas State. In the camps Freeze has run since becoming the head coach at Ole Miss, he has stood before hundreds of campers and reminded them that while only a few of them will be recruited by the Rebels, all should work hard because coaches from Arkansas State, South Alabama and elsewhere would also be working with campers. Those schools, Freeze would remind the campers, also offer scholarships.

Monday morning, Freeze’s phone rang. On the other end was a coach wondering if he was no longer allowed to work the Ole Miss camp. The coach worked at an FBS school, and Freeze realized that coach would be banned by a rule passed Friday. The SEC—Ole Miss’s league—and ACC had spearheaded an effort to ban satellite camps. Since such camps were created by coaches from one college working a camp at a host high school or college in a recruit-rich area, the rule banned any FBS coach from working a camp that wasn’t on his own campus. The NCAA Division I management council voted, and the ban is effective immediately. Freeze realized quickly that the ban had a serious consequence he hadn’t considered. In keeping Michigan coaches from working camps at high schools in Alabama, Florida and Georgia and Oklahoma State coaches from working camps at a Division III school in Texas, the schools also had banned Bowling Green coaches from working Ohio State’s camp and Arkansas State coaches from working the Ole Miss camp…

It says something about the ham-fisted construction of this rule that one of the coaches from one of the leagues that championed it is already expressing regrets. Freeze wants to find a way to change the rule so coaches from Group of Five schools can still work camps in conjunction with Power Five schools. “I would love to continue that,” Freeze said Monday. “I just don’t want satellite camps for the Power Five. I am for non-Power Five schools being able to attend and evaluate.” Freeze agrees with the intention of the rule—just not the unintended consequences. He does not think his coaches should be able to work a camp in Houston, smack in the middle of Texas A&M’s recruiting territory. He does, however, think South Alabama coaches should be allowed to work the Ole Miss camp.

C’mon, Hugh, don’t those coaches have families, too?

This stuff makes me want to laugh… until I listen to what Greg Sankey lets come out of his mouth.

Sankey said this topic has been a concern long before Jim Harbaugh brought his Michigan camps to places like Prattville, Ala. What he called “recruiting tour events” first pinged the SEC radar back in 2011.

Sankey also downplayed the idea this legislation limited the opportunity of athletes to discovered by college coaches. He pointed to the ever-increasing staff positions within programs related to identifying and recruiting prospects.

Sure thing, Greg.  Lambuth University is positively crawling with support staffers, just like Alabama.

Ohio State coach Urban Meyer, who planned satellite camps for this year, came out in opposition to the new rule. He told that “probably hundreds of scholarships” were tied to these events. It’s not about the big schools, he said, but smaller programs like MAC schools who benefitted.

Sankey doesn’t agree. These satellite campers were a trend, he said, that would only fall further down the rabbit hole with larger concerns arising in the future.

“In fact, if you look at what may have happened, it would have not remained constant had the council not acted,” Sankey said. “We would have had dozens and dozens of events, particularly in large metropolitan areas and there would have been pressure on young people to attend those events.”

Oh, no.  Not that.  If anyone is going to pressure those young people, it’ll be SEC coaches, or nobody at all.

And the commissioner was just getting warmed up on his favorite topic of helping the young people.

Rather than the notion that things have been taken away, rather than continue to migrate football recruiting away from the scholastic environment” and recruiting calendar, “I think the council action is entire appropriate and consistent” with the council. If there is talk about extending recruiting calculator, that should come up, but “let’s not go” way of other sports and get away from scholastic setting…

You mean like mid-week night road basketball games?  Or bowl practices during exam period?

Oh, wait… you mean like this.

Sankey is asked about programs limiting players from transferring to certain programs. “I am concerned about the current transfer structure.” Believes there’s a lot of national concern about it.

Concerns about transfer structure: “We have to have an intentional conversation about the variances that exist in sport.” “We need to talk about the academic impact of transferring.” Also: “The ability to have too much or the appropriate or sufficient level of oversight is the one that seems to be the lightning rod.”

I have to give Sankey credit for one thing.  He’s much more fluent in bullshit than Mike Slive ever was.


Filed under It's All Just Made Up And Flagellant, SEC Football

12 responses to “The SEC and the young people

  1. ASEF

    The camps will still happen, just like they do in basketball. Through 3rd parties. Coaches can watch but not interact. Except through Snapchat, apparently.

    Where was this angst from the B1G and media about young people when they were demanding new rules to curb SEC coaches evaluating potential recruits off campus (Saban Rules)? Those rules also impacted all schools and denied student athletes access.

    This feels like yet another contrived media campaign. Off-season sucks.


  2. Go Dawgs!

    Arkansas State is still going to have those scholarships. They’re still going to need football players to give them to. This rule puts more of the onus back on the high school football coaches to get video to college coaches, I guess.

    I don’t like the fact that this rule limits chances for kids to be seen by non-Power 5 coaches. I have no problem, however, with the fact that it hamstrings Michigan’s attempts to host a Big Blue recruiting camp in Georgia’s back yard. I guess that makes me against the kids’ best interests. It’s the only area where I can be accused of such. Poor ol’ Michigan will be able to recruit and recruit well without setting up a camp in Florida. Western Michigan will be hurt worse. Frankly, I put the blame on Michigan.


  3. DawgPhan

    So at this point, players against it, coaches that were for it are against it, high school coaches are against it, and future student athletes are against it.

    Still firmly for it, internet college football fans.


  4. ASEF

    Nike and Adidas sponsor basketball exhibitions across the country that accomplish this very thing. High school freshmen on up. Looks to me like the NCAA is inviting Nike and Adidas to absorb these costs for them in football as well. I’m betting that’s why they did an outright ban rather than set up a geographical limit. Larry Scott endorsed the idea last year.

    Secret shoe company shenanigans. Not “secret SEC coaches hate athletes” shenanigans.


    • The great thing about this is when it takes off as you describe, every asshole at the NCAA will decry the development.


      • ASEF

        Probably. But they’ve worked out the kinks over the years to the point everyone’s comfortable with it – and the rules for what you can and can’t do are already in place. No need to invent a new wheel.

        I think it would be an NCAA “don’t throw me into that briar patch” sort of thing.


    • W Cobb Dawg

      Agree. If there’s truly a void, somebody will step up to fill it.

      I don’t have any problem giving the shaft to Harbaugh and corch. They shouldn’t be conducting camps in GA, period. And I apply the same reasoning to UGA – I see no reason for us to do camps at Moeller in Cincinnati.


  5. Hunkering Hank

    Third parties are already doing this. FBU, USA Football, Nike, Under Armour, etc. all have football camps complete with recruiting services (NCSA) to assist the athletes in pursuing their dream of playing college football.


  6. Unintended consequences. The bane of my existence.


  7. Connor

    Sankey is a classic corporate mouth piece, and the satellite camp ban is pretty stupid. The Southern coaches who’ve come out against it are obviously trying to protect their turf, their hypocrisy is easy to see. I’m getting a little tired of the fans of Northern schools pretending this is all about the kids. Meyer for sure would be saying the same things as Freeze and others were he still at UF. And if the rule allowed power five conferences to do camps but prohibited non-power five for some reason, I doubt Michigan fans would care much. The South has a resource advantage over Northern schools. Southern schools want to protect that advantage and Northern schools want to erode it. At no point is the welfare of these kids a real concern of any of these people.