A while back here on All Sports Discussion (make sure you follow our Twitter account at @AllSportsDACC), I argued that the NCAA’s ban on satellite camps was absolutely the wrong decision for a couple of reasons.
First, I argued that ACC and Southeastern Conference (SEC) coaches – quite frankly – did not want the extra competition in their backyard and that a satellite camp ban is protectionist style recruiting. If you have to work harder to get the recruits in the fold, so be it.
Second, and more importantly, I argued that the satellite camp ban would hurt those recruits most that were being hit up by non-Power 5 schools (Florida State and Clemson aren’t going to be hurt by a satellite camp ban – it’s those mid-tier ACC and SEC schools that want to crack the top 25 that might be hurt by this). For many recruits, a non-power 5 scholarship might be the only scholarship they get – and they might actually be the first person in their family to go college (that’s a big deal in many parts because most athletes aren’t going pro).
The United States Department of Justice (DoJ) has begun an informal inquiry into the topic of satellite camps by calling college football coaches, conference commissioners and college administrators, two people with knowledge of the matter told USA TODAY Sports.
The people spoke on the condition of anonymity because the inquiry has not been made public.
The DOJ’s interest, according to one of the people who spoke to USA TODAY Sports, is based on whether an NCAA ban of satellite camps — a term used to describe off-campus coaching clinics attended by prospective student-athletes — could jeopardize or lessen opportunities for youth players to be seen or have access to college football coaches.
Prior to the Council’s vote to ban, many college football programs used satellite camps to find prospects outside their normal recruiting area — such as in the case of Michigan, which accumulated several verbal commitments last offseason from camps held throughout the Southeast.
Satellite-camp supporters questioned the ruling. At a news conference shortly after the ruling, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said the ban would have a harmful effect on teams outside the power-conference structure, schools from the Group of Five conferences, Division II and Division III. Many such programs rely on these camps — often run by larger programs in one of the Power Five leagues — to find prospects overlooked during the recruitment process.
“The ruling directly affects the prospective student-athletes, in my opinion, in terms of exposure and being able to be seen by a lot of coaches at one time,” Utah State coach Matt Wells told USA TODAY Sports on April 8.
Some people do not like government intervention in anyway, shape, or form – but I don’t mind seeing DoJ questioning the ACC and the SEC why the ban is that important. As I’ve argued above, I think satellite camps give some recruits an opportunity to be seen by many coaches that might not otherwise see them in other circumstances (e.g. the recruit from the southeast might not have the money to make the trek up north – and vice versa – so a local satellite camp would work out really well for that prospect). That opportunity might lead to a recruit receiving a scholarship. We will follow these developments as more arise.