“The NCAA made a rule 10 minutes ago saying I couldn’t.”

Yes, I know that Jim Harbaugh can be a self-aggrandizing arse, but the NCAA’s fixation on satellite camps is bordering on farcical.

According to CoachingSearch.com, during a camp hosted by USF, Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh said the NCAA told him to stop taking pictures with and signing autographs for campers, parents and fans…

The coach I heard from last week thought there was a bit more to it than that. That picture of Harbaugh above with a four-star O-line prospect and his mom seemed rather ordinary, but the assistant coach pointed out the attire of the recruit, which appeared to indicate that the player didn’t actually take part in the camp and never registered. The upshot: “We can’t have contact with the kids and their parents,” the coach said. “It’s an illegal contact.”

The coach said this is why so many coaches thought Saban raised a lot of good points about the spread of satellite camps and how many unwieldy issues it’s going to add in the recruiting process. That they’re more about schmoozing and recruiting than instruction.

Now I get all that, but how is it any different than the absurdity of the Saban Rule – you know, the one supposedly prohibiting purposefully bumping into recruits during high school visits that is routinely breached?

Look at what the NCAA is devoting resources to these days.

Later, Harbaugh interrupted an ESPN.com interview with his son, tight ends coach Jay Harbaugh, because he had just heard that the NCAA wasn’t allowing interviews with the media during camps. That changed within the two-hour practice, and he addressed reporters after the first session.

“I believe we can do interviews,” Harbaugh said. “That’s what we’ve been told. You were there, you saw what’s going on with the changing daily rules. It’s very interesting. It’s very interesting. The NCAA compliance people are here. They’ve been at every single one. The NCAA has sent at least one or two of their people to each of our camps and we’ve had one of our compliance people at each one of these camps. That notion that there’s not oversight of these camps — you’ve seen it with your own eyes, there absolutely is.

Freaking satellite camps, this year’s most overblown, over-covered college football subject.  Again, I get that it’s Harbaugh and the “we’re going to fight for the youngsters and the student-athletes and their families and for the game of football itself” he tosses out in defense of his crusade is complete garbage, but, seriously, I only wish the NCAA paid this much constant attention to, say, academic fraud.

A pox on ’em both, I say.


Filed under Heard About Harbaugh?, The NCAA

7 responses to ““The NCAA made a rule 10 minutes ago saying I couldn’t.”

  1. ASEF

    We’ll take that as an apology and half-a-loaf for falling for the “it’s for the kiddies” BS when this story first started to shape. 🙂


  2. Jared S.

    I continue to believe what I’ve thought from the first – that satellite camps are more about marketing in a very general sense than they are about reaching particular recruits. The thing that boggles my mind about all of it is how unwieldy and time-consuming it must be for (multiple) coaches and staff from a single school to attend 10 or 20 of these camps in a Spring/Summer. I can’t help but think that for many HC’s who choose to go “all out” and attend so many of these, it will actually end up being a net minus for their program because of the opportunity cost involved. After all the time spent at camps is time not spent working at home.


    • ltrftc

      Without a doubt. These things are about brand awareness. It’s why Harbaugh is hitting them so hard. It’s why Meyer used them early on when he got to OSU. If you’re an SEC school, there’s not much you need to do to make kids in the south aware of your program. And for the kids in Texas or California or wherever else, if they’re interested in leaving, they’re at least marginally aware of most SEC programs (maybe less so UK, Vandy, etc.)

      Michigan is on the back end of a nearly decade long slide where they just hadn’t been particularly competitive or relevant. If Harbaugh wants to change that he’s got to take every opportunity to push the Michigan image into the spotlight. He’s doing a good job using his twitter trolling skills combined with public platforms during media interviews to stir the pot and keep Michigan front and center which is his ultimate goal. If he can convince 30-50 additional kids that traditionally wouldn’t have even thought about UM to come visit, he’s getting some marginal value… if those kids are high 3* and above ratings, it’s getting more valuable… if he lands 3-5 of them more value… you get the picture.

      The obvious concern is what you mentioned, is it a zero sum game because of the time away from campus… my thought is not really. He’s got a ton of time left for kids to come visit campus… With the number of staffers and off-field coaches, it’s a hell of a lot easier to balance the communication needs to stay in touch with the top prospects you already have “in the fold” so to speak, and still partake in the camps. I do wonder what it will mean long-term by way of whether coaches will stick around or try and find a program that maybe provides a smidge more of an actual life. Probably will boil down to W/L’s and whether this all pans out for them or not.


  3. Is Harbaugh trying to sign 200 football players? I guess he would try and have his way as well, LOL. He is probably telling recruits that global warming is true and Ann Arbor will soon have an average of 80F during winter and spring.


    • gastr1

      If you think he is, he’s won, because Harbaugh is clearly of the “no PR is bad PR” school. He’s decided he and Michigan will win from being in the news every day. Funny how he didn’t need that at Stanford.


  4. I’m sure Harbaugh and Michigan are benefiting from their omni-presence this summer. However, he can be such an ass at times, there will be some bumps too. Just a question of how bumpy it might get.


  5. If the NCAA actually paid attention to academic fraud, the $$$$$ would dry up. And a lot of people would be going to jail on federal charges.