DESTIN, Florida — Nick Saban said he did not want to discuss satellite camps.
Then the Alabama coach went on a 791-word rant about the issue, the lack of regulations and the compliance issues coaches could face in the near future.
Saban was fiery during his time at the podium Tuesday at the SEC’s spring meetings. He pounded his fist on the podium and showed genuine concern about the future of college football, calling the introduction of satellite camps something that mirrors the problems posed by AAU basketball for college basketball coaches.
“What’s amazing to me is somebody didn’t stand up and say there’s going to be the unintended consequences of what you all are doing,” Saban said.
Saban’s concerns are legitimate, especially from a compliance standpoint. Satellite camps at high schools could very well seep into the sometimes-not-so-clean world of AAU basketball.
“Anybody can have a camp now,” Saban said. “If they have a prospect, they can have a camp and then you’re expected to go to that camp and then they can use you to promote their camp because Ohio State is coming, Alabama is coming, whoever else is coming. Somebody sponsors a camp, they pay them the money. What do they do with the money? And who makes sure the kid paid to go to the camp? I mean, this is the Wild Wild West at its best. There’s been no specific guidelines relative to how we’re managing and controlling this stuff. It’s happening outside our normal evaluation window, which means we’re taking time away from our players.
“Our players come back to school today. We start working and making sure that our players are doing the right things with our strength and conditioning coaches, our academic people, with the limited number of meetings that we’re allowed to have with them. We’re not going to be there because we’re going to be going someplace else to look at some other guy.”
Saban also believes big-time programs are being used by these camps for notoriety and to make money.
“All you’re doing is allowing all these other people that we spend all of our time at the NCAA saying, you can’t recruit through a third party. You can’t be involved with third-party people and that’s exactly what you’re doing, creating all these third parties that are going to get involved with the prospects and all that. And who gets exposed on that? I go to a camp and I’m talking to some guy I don’t know from Adam’s house cat and he’s representing some kid because he put the camp on, and then I’m in trouble for talking to this guy? And who even knows if the guy paid to go to the camp. Is the NCAA going to do that? I mean, we do that at our camp. We have people responsible. They’re called compliance folks. What kind of compliance people do we have at these camps?
Alabama is expected to send a coach to a satellite camp at the Sound Mind Sound Body Football Academy’s camp June 9-10 in Detroit. They will also take part in a camp at Samford June 11 in Birmingham.
The issue of satellite camps all goes back to Saban’s push for a commissioner in college football.
“I’m not blaming (Michigan coach) Jim Harbaugh,” Saban said. “I’m not saying anything about it. I’m just saying it’s bad for college football. Jim Harbaugh can do anything he wants to do. I’m not saying anything bad about him, if he thinks that’s what’s best. There needs to be somebody who looks out for what’s best for the game, not what’s best for the Big Ten or not what’s best for the SEC or not what’s best for Jim Harbaugh, but what’s best for the game of college football. The integrity of the game. The coaches, the players and the people that play it. That’s bigger than all of this. That’s what somebody should do. Now, who is doing that? I don’t know because right now since we have the Power 5, everybody is politicking for what they want for their conference. That’s why I said there needs to be a college football commissioner.”
You can check out Saban’s rant in all its glory below: