Satellite Camps Back On

Last week I was up in arms after hearing that the NCAA voted to ban satellite camps. Now a week later my hope has been restored. The NCAA board of directors met Thursday and decided to rescind the original April 8 vote.

The original ruling was upsetting for I knew the consequences it would have on football players hoping to play at the collegiate level. I don’t know this because I was a player myself. I know this because I grew up with brothers — three brothers by blood and a whole lot more by association. I have witnessed time and time again the hardships families go through trying to help their sons reach their goals. When it comes down to it, it doesn’t matter where in the country you are from. The biggest obstacle for players trying to reach the collegiate level is money.

When one camp costing upward of $200, not including travel and the expenses for family members that need to tag along, the idea of attending more than one camp can become impossible.

Players at satellite camps have the opportunity to be seen by multiple college coaches and recruiters in one visit and often for less money. Without satellite camps, I saw the dreams of hundreds of players become more out of reach. Luckily with Thursday’s decision, players and parents can rest easy. This year will run like years past.

Along with Thursday’s ruling, the NCAA “hopes for initial recommendations for improving the football recruiting environment.” So NCAA, here are some of my recommendations.

LIMIT NUMBER OF CAMPS

My first suggestion would be to limit the number of camps that college coaches are allowed to attend or host. The banning of satellite camps would hurt the non-power five conferences the most. These programs — including schools on the NCAA Division II and III and National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics level — benefit the most from the ability to attend camps at other universities or third-party camps.

With that being said, I think putting a cap could help the recruiting circuit. The need for satellite camps aren’t as vital for power five conferences. Clearly the SEC and Atlantic Coast Conference didn’t think they were important at all when they put their own conference bans on it previously. So perhaps the cap should be the lowest for the power five schools.

MAKES CAMPS MORE AFFORDABLE

Imagine the players who really want to play at Florida State. They figure out how to pull together a tuition fee of $350. But then they realize that they need an additional $400 because they aren’t from Florida. And then they learn being 15 years old mean a guardian needs to come.

I understand that these players are staying in dorms where they are using electricity and air conditioning. These players need to be fed and campus workers need to be working to make things run smoothly. I understand that coaches need to be paid for being away from their families for an additional four days. But the reality is these camps don’t need $400 a head to run. And for universities like Alabama, Michigan, Florida State, most of the money is going to paying their head coach’s already ridiculously large paycheck.

If the reason behind rescinding the April 8 vote was because the NCAA saw how the decision would hurt athletes and hinder scholarship opportunities, camp tuition fees should be lowered for the exact same reason.

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