FLOWERY BRANCH, Georgia — Herb Hand has been on both sides of the satellite camp issue that has swept college football over the last two years.
The Auburn offensive line coach participated in the off-campus coaching clinics with prospective players during his time under James Franklin at Penn State. He now works with close friend Gus Malzahn at Auburn, which has been vehemently against Big Ten schools and others jumping into their territory and conducting recruiting tours on high school and college campuses.
News broke Monday that the United States Department of Justice has launched an informal inquiry into the topic and whether it is limiting opportunities for youth players to have access to college football coaches. The news is causing quite the stir across the college landscape for an issue that seemed dead when the NCAA banned satellite camps in early April.
Now, with the government involved, anything could seemingly happen.
“Well, I guess my first initial thought is that, I would think the Department of Justice would have some more pressing issues,” Hand told SEC Country. “But I understand both sides of the equation on the satellite camp issue because we were at Penn State. We were involved in doing the satellite camps and I saw the plus side of it and I saw the downside of it in terms of there’s a lot of time you’re away from campus.”
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh and others in the Big Ten have been big proponents of satellite camps. Malzahn came out against it last summer.
Harbaugh and Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze got into a war of words when the Michigan coach suggested SEC coaches were not interested in the camps. “You’ve got a guy sitting in a big house, making $5 million a year, saying he does not want to sacrifice his time,” Harbaugh said. “That is not a kindred spirit to me. What most of these coaches are saying is they don’t want to work harder.”
Hand also believes Harbaugh is missing the point.
“We’re not afraid to work,” Hand said. “It’s not that at all. It’s more about just being away from your family, which that’s one thing. I get that. But the other part of it is being away from your players that are on campus. If you’re away for two weeks during the summer, you get limited amount of time with those guys as it is. That kinda cuts into it as well.
“But I do see the plus side of it in terms of the exposure aspect of it, but I think that there are very few rocks left unturned across the country. With the amount of information that’s available at your fingertips on players, whether it be through the other (video service) Hudl links, the film that is online, the information you can gather about them that at least gets you to where you know who guys are.”
Whether satellite camps return is not a big issue to Hand as long as “everyone is on a level playing field.”