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No More Satellite Camps? NCAA Votes To Prohibit

2013 NCAA Division I Women's Lacrosse ChampionshipThe NCAA logo is shown on the field right before a game. (Photo by G Fiume/Maryland Terrapins/Getty Images)

Today is a landmark day to a debate that has been raging on for a while now.

The NCAA announced Friday that its Division I council voted to put an end to the satellite camps, effective immediately.

“The Council approved a proposal applicable to the Football Bowl Subdivision that would require those schools to conduct camps and clinics at their school’s facilities or at facilities regularly used for practice or competition,” the NCAA said in a release. “Additionally, FBS coaches and non-coaching staff members with responsibilities specific to football may be employed only at their school’s camps or clinics. This rule change is effective immediately.”

Controversial as they have been the past few offseasons, the satellite camps have continued.  A previous NCAA rule prohibited programs from hosting camps more than 50 miles from their own campus, but several teams have taken advantage of a loophole.

Mainly several Big Ten coaching staffs, much to the dismay of the SEC and ACC, have been holding camps in the warmer weather and talent-rich areas of the South.  Penn State, Michigan, Ohio State and other coaching staffs have participated in camps which were hosted by other schools and they were guest coaches.

Even though plans had been made this summer for more satellite camps by these schools, the SEC and ACC (who had banned its coaches from taking advantage of the loophole) hoped to ban the practice overall and this is what the ruling by the NCAA accomplished today.

It remains to be seen if the programs who were exposing the loophole will find another way to “recruit without recruiting” outside of the practice of utilizing satellite camps.

From the student-athlete’s perspective, this removes opportunities for them to showcase their talent and receive exposure they might not have had otherwise.  Some of these prospects may have been overlooked by schools located in the Southern region.

Traveling up North for these kids might be impossible and these satellite camps allowed them to perform in front of coaching staffs who may have missed them previously, opening up the chance at a scholarship and a potential education.  Alex Barbir, a kicker from Georgia who signed with Penn State in its 2016 class, said he would not have received a scholarship offer from PSU without attending a satellite camp.

“To me, the satellite camp I went to 45 minutes from my home is the reason I’m going to Penn State,” Barbir told PennLive.com. “I wasn’t able to attend a camp in Pennsylvania, but I wanted to have a chance to kick for the coaches and possibly get an offer. So they told me about this satellite camp down in Atlanta by me so I was all for it.  Obviously who I am, game film and stats also played a factor, but seeing me perform in person how I did was the game changer for me, and that was made possible by this satellite camp.”

Hopefully the NCAA will find an alternative way to provide these valuable opportunities back to the student-athletes fighting for a chance to play the game they love and see getting a scholarship as a way to improve their lives.