This will be the last time I address the merits of satellite camps in a column. God’s honest truth.
Quite simply, we’ve reached the point of saturation with one of the most pointless hot-button topics in recent memory. Regardless of sport.
Seriously, why should anyone care about a college football coach setting up a one-day shop in a different region during the summertime? This whole faux crisis has gotten laughably out of hand.
Of course, similar words were penned here a month ago, just a few days after the NCAA overturned its initial ban against satellite camps. At that time, there were seemingly no more fresh angles to pursue — or in this case, bludgeon to death.
But alas, there’s one quick point to make about the various camps being planned throughout the country: The NCAA should let these schools — essentially Power 5 and Group of Five programs — get all the respective ‘crazy’ out of their systems this year, with the intent of streamlining this fading fad ahead of the 2017 calendar year.
For instance, happily let coach Jim Harbaugh schedule Michigan for 26 satellite camps next month, covering just about every region in the contiguous United States.
Allow Harbaugh and UGA’s Kirby Smart to co-headline a Georgia-based camp in early June. (So much for that Twitter war!)
And please, oh please, permit Alabama coach Nick Saban to garner the rock-star treatment at a satellite camp inside the state of Michigan, not too far from the emotional Big Ten haunts of East Lansing (Michigan State) and Ann Arbor (Michigan).
Because in 2017, substantive change will occur.
Noticeable adjustments like …
**Restricting the number of satellite camps each school can do. Using Michigan, for example, how about limiting Harbaugh’s exposure from 26 to maybe five camps?
**Minimizing the time window for satellite camps. Perhaps take a cue from the Alabama High School Athletic Association, which formally passed a bylaw last month, allowing its member football coaches to only host or work camps during a specific five-week window (June/July).
**Establishing a uniform code of conduct among camp hosts, in terms of drill work, scrimmage time and access to college coaches.
**Abolishing the act of conducting out-of-state practices during spring break (a direct hit at Michigan and Harbaugh’s crazy-innovative mind).
Sounds reasonable enough, huh?
On the surface, satellite camps still have tremendous promise in today’s college football. It’s a great chance for scholarship-awarding programs to meet talented, high-character kids in previously unfamiliar regions of the country.
Plus, it’s really cool when certain schools form strange alliances with other programs during the summer, reminiscent of NFL teams practicing against each other during training camp (minus the inevitable scuffles that break out).
The NCAA just needs a year of reflection and evaluation, before regulating something so beneficial to college football.
Not that it matters anyway.
It’s been said before: Teams from the ACC, Big Ten, Pac-12 and Big 12 could host round-the-clock satellite camps inside the state of Alabama for an entire summer … and the Crimson Tide still would lead all comers in blue-chip recruits the following National Signing Day.
(Citing 247Sports.com, Alabama has landed the nation’s top-ranked recruiting class for six consecutive years.)
The NCAA could permit head coaches from Power 5 schools to build a Hands Across America-style human fence around the state of Louisiana … and LSU still would land the vast majority of top-notch recruits from the talent-rich state.
And the University of Michigan could officially erect a satellite extension campus right next to the sprawling digs of the famed IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. (hotbed of prep talent) — the same locale of Harbaugh’s spring break excursion — and the coaches/recruiting gurus at Florida, Florida State and Miami still would be knee-deep in NFL-caliber prospects every February.
Bottom line: There’s just too much premium talent in the South to care about bland fads like satellite camps — college football’s version of the infamous Pet Rock.
Looks like we’re done here. Now, let’s find a new topic to overanalyze, leading up to SEC Media Days in mid-July.
Jay Clemons, the 2015 national winner for “Sports Blog Of The Year” (Cynopsis Media), has previously written for SI.com, The National Football Post, Bleacher Report and FOX Sports.