By Marq Burnett
HUNTSVILLE — Alabama coach Nick Saban thinks there should be a uniform rule when it comes to “satellite camps.”
The satellite camps have given Big 10 coaches an opportunity to hold camps in Southern states in order to evaluate talent from the region without the players having to travel too far away from home for the most part.
Last summer, Penn State coaches held satellite football camps in Atlanta and parts of Florida.
This year, the Nittany Lion coaches setting up shop in North Carolina and Virginia. Jim Harbaugh and Michigan’s coaching staff are scheduled to join the fun with camps scheduled in Alabama, Florida and Texas.
The Southeastern Conference currently doesn’t allow its teams to hold such camps.
“I certainly think that we need to address this if it’s going to be a competitive disadvantage, and other people are going to have these kinds of camps,” Saban said Tuesday during his Crimson Caravan stop in Huntsville. “I think it’s something that we’ll probably address as a conference. I think it’s something we should look at from an NCAA standpoint because I think it’s best to have a rule where if people come to your campus, they can come to your camp.”
According to NCAA bylaws, a football program is allowed to host campus either on their campus, inside their state or within a 50-mile radius of campus if it happens to be out-of-state. But there is a loophole that states coaches may “guest coach” or work another school’s camps to get outside of that 50-mile radius.
During a meeting with reporters on Monday during the Associate Press Sports Editors’ Southeast Region meeting in Birmingham, incoming SEC commissioner Greg Sankey spoke out against the camps.
“Ironically, when we’re talking about satellite camps — as we remember camps, they were instructional and development opportunities,” Sankey said, according to al.com. ‘Now, what we’re talking about is recruiting tours. So, let’s just be clear about what we’re really talking about here.”
During that same meeting, current SEC commissioner Mike Slive joked, “We’re going to have a camp at Penn State.”
The satellite camps will more than likely be a big topic of discussion during the SEC’s spring meetings in Destin, Fla. next month.
“If we’re all going to travel all over the country to have satellite camps, how ridiculous is that?” Saban said. “I mean, we’re not even allowed to go to All-star games. But now we’re going to have satellite camps all over the country? So it doesn’t really make sense.”
Contact Anniston Star Sports Writer Marq Burnett at firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter: @Marq_Burnett.