Delany dismisses satellite camp issue as SEC protects turf
IRVING, Texas (AP) The territorial dispute sparked by Big Ten football coaches such as Jim Harbaugh and James Franklin venturing into Southeastern Conference territory to take part in camps for high school prospects will eventually be settled by the NCAA.
Whether it is resolved by committee or legislation remains to be seen, but the SEC has promised that if the NCAA does not shut down so-called satellite camps there is a good chance Nick Saban, Les Miles and Gus Malzahn will be coming to your city to set up their own.
''I think you'd be surprised where our people will go,'' incoming SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said.
Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany said he does not see a problem with his coaches' wandering ways.
''Coaches coaching at camps doesn't strike me as a bad practice,'' Delany said Wednesday. ''There are some practices that are out there that are . legal that are far more objectionable.''
The FBS conference commissioners who make up the College Football Playoff management committee are meeting in the North Texas this week. With no major changes coming to the postseason, the leaders of major college football have been fielding questions on other topics from reporters. For a second straight year, satellite camps have become a springtime issue in college football.
NCAA rules allow football programs to hold camps on their campus, inside their state or within a 50-mile radius of campus, but coaches can guest coach at another school's camp - whether it's another FBS school or a Division III school or even a high school.
The SEC and Atlantic Coast Conference prohibit guest coaching, in part because they don't want their coaches treading on each other's turf.
Last year, Penn State's Franklin, who was at Vanderbilt before moving to State College, Pennsylvania, upset SEC coaches by bringing his staff to Georgia State as guest coaches. Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly followed suit, taking his staff south from South Bend, Indiana.
Harbaugh, the new Michigan coach, this year upped the ante with an extensive satellite camp tour that will make nine stops in seven states, including Florida, Georgia, Alabama and Texas. To balance it out - and maybe have a little fun with his colleagues - Harbaugh invited every coach in the country to Michigan's camp in Ann Arbor.
Will any of SEC coaches take him up on it? ''Mine's not,'' Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs said with a smile.
Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby leads a conference that has no consensus within it on the issue. Oklahoma State has been holding satellite camps for years in Texas. Bowlsby also heads the new NCAA football oversight committee, which plans to tackle this issue and could make a recommendation to either close the door on satellite camps or swing it wide open.
If the door remains open, the SEC and ACC will walk through it.
''Our coaches had a very in-depth conversation in February,'' Sankey said. ''Our coaches said we don't want to be engaged in more summer recruiting. We want a national rule. I think that's a responsible approach. If the door is not closed there's going to be a will on the part of our conference and others to engage in the same type of behavior on a national basis.''
Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick is with Delany and has no problem with Kelly working on the Fighting Irish's national brand. Swarbrick also said trying to limit coach's ability to do satellite camps could run into legal issues.
''The NCAA does not have a very good track record of limiting, without losing antitrust lawsuit, economic opportunities for coaches. They should be treading very lightly,'' Swarbrick said.
Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said satellite camps have been a non-issue in his conference, but he will discuss it with his coaches at league meetings to try to come up with a consensus.
So for now this looks like a North vs. South issue, with the Big Ten on one side and the SEC on the other.
Delany wants to turn questions about satellite camps into a discussion about recruiting as a whole.
''I'm not against having a conversation I just don't think you can sort of look at the broad spectrum of recruitment and access and signing and oversigning and gray-shirting and early enrollment, without looking at the whole environment.''
Delany said he is not looking for a fight.
''We recruit in the Midwest. We recruit nationally on the West Coast. We recruit in the Southeast. And we always have and we always will,'' he said. ''Our schools have been recruiting the South for a hundred years. We're not going to stop recruiting the South.''