Satellite camps, summer scouting camps held in prospect-rich areas, have been going on for years. Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh managed to get the practice outlawed by NCAA in only his second year on the job in Ann Arbor.
Harbaugh’s high-profile media grandstanding drew attention to the camps and forced the ACC and SEC, whose rules prohibit its coaches from participating in organized off-campus scouting camps, to take action in the form of requesting NCAA legislation to end the practice.
Nebraska coach Mike Riley was a proponent of the camps, according to Sam McKewon of the Omaha World-Herald:
“To me, it’s about opportunity for both sides,” Riley said in September 2015. “Who’s it about? If it’s about the kids, then it’s a good argument these are very good things.”
A lot of coaches agree and worked these camps. Quietly. The SEC and ACC didn’t make too much of a stink, I suspect, because everybody knew the deal: It’s football. It’s scouting. It’s a camp. It’s opportunity.
Until Michigan and Harbaugh. They weren’t quiet at all about their “Summer Swarm” camps. Not in the least. It was a celebrity event, a media event, a shirtless head coach throwing footballs around the yard, a circus that was certain to have more and bigger tents in 2016. It was, let’s face it, a promotional tour.
The reality is that Harbaugh ran a classic “pump-and-dump” shop (read the article below for examples) and the opportunity being promoted was a chance to enhance Harbaugh’s image.
SEC programs are no shrinking violets when it comes to recruiting. The conference and its members had already made plans to jump into the recruiting camp business with both feet. Michigan and its grandstanding coach may have withstood the coming barrage from the South, but few other programs would fare as well. NCAA members voted for their self-interest.
McKewon: Michigan’s noise helped silence satellite camps nationwide