Ann Arbor, MI. The NCAA’s ruling last week certainly had winners and losers. As for the winners, there is no doubt the SEC and their coaches won. They did not want satellite camps, and they got the NCAA to ban them.
But Michigan and head Coach Jim Harbaugh are not the losers in this ruling. Harbaugh and Michigan will continue to innovate, and continue to frustrate SEC Coaches. Do not feel sorry for Harbaugh and Michigan- I assure you they will be just fine.
The losers are high schoolers across America. The losers are not high-level high school football recruits, but rather the thousands of low-level players who attend the camps with the hope that a high-level program takes notice of their talent and offers them a scholarship. The losers are the masses of average high school players with no shot of playing college football, but who cherish the opportunity to be in the presence of some of the game’s greatest minds.
Why do thousands of high school students have to suffer? Because of the selfishness of SEC coaches. These coaches sit on the most fertile recruiting ground in the nation. They rarely have to exit the south to lure top talent to their programs, and they benefit from these high-level southern athletes falling into their laps. Satellite camps threatened all of that.
The last few offseasons coaches like Jim Harbaugh began to pillage high-level talent from SEC country by using these satellite camps as a recruiting tool. All of a sudden SEC coaches had competition from the north, and they decided they did not like that. Mississippi coach Hugh Freeze summed this sentiment up perfectly, when he admitted his time is more important than giving thousands of high school students once in a lifetime opportunities to be coached by Hall of Fame coaches.
I’m selfish with my time. I’m away from my family enough, and I just did not want to go. I was ready to. We would’ve jumped in with the rest of them and gone to work. But I’m glad we can have a camp and I can sleep at home.
Yep, good on you Hugh. You can now “sleep at home” as much as you want and you will not have to worry about any pesky Big Ten coaches coming down South and coaching students in poor neighborhoods, signing autographs, and God forbid helping high school students, regardless of athletic ability, to achieve at the highest levels.
In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Jim Harbaugh called out the SEC and ACC coaches who opposed the camps.
It seems to be outrage by the SEC and ACC. They power-brokered that out … the image that comes to my mind is guys in a back room smoking cigars, doing what they perceive is best for them. It certainly isn’t the best thing for the youngsters. It’s not the best thing for the student-athletes… You’ve got a guy sitting in a big house, making $5 million a year, saying he does not want to sacrifice his time. That is not a kindred spirit to me. What most of these coaches are saying is they don’t want to work harder.
Yesterday on his show ESPN SEC radio host Paul Finebaum blasted Harbaugh, stating that Harbaugh’s assertion that his camps helped “thousands and thousands of kids simply doesn’t make a lick of sense.” Yep, you too are right Paul. Harbaugh, one of the best football coaches in the world, going to poor, rural towns teaching football to thousands of high schoolers who often cannot afford to travel to campuses will not help these kids. But in some amazing way, Hugh Freeze sleeping at home will help these kids more than any clinic Harbaugh can coach at.
Finebaum also loved to use convenient facts, about how Hugh Freeze was in Haiti volunteering why Harbaugh was “mugging for photos at the IMG camp.” Yet there was no mention of Harbaugh’s service trip to Peru last summer, where he spent countless hours assisting at orphanages and churches. Finebaum’s SEC bias is no secret. The SEC Network, for which Finebaum is a radio host, is completely devoted to the SEC conference, so Finebaum’s anti-Harbaugh remarks are predictable, but downright moronic none the less.
The NCAA’s satellite camp ban fully showcases the hypocrisy that is the NCAA and the SEC. All the NCAA and SEC coaches preach is Student-Athlete well-being. Everything they do is justified under that guise. But there is not a single student-athlete in America who will benefit from this ruling. Not one. On the contrary, there are thousands of athletes who will no be unable to showcase their talent to elite coaches because of impediments, like travel or finances.
Congratulations, Hugh Freeze, the SEC, and the NCAA. You have now made it even harder for under-recruited athletes to showcase their talents. But you’re right, it is more important that you sleep in your own bed than for thousands of high school kids to be exposed to life-changing opportunities. And by the way, it’s best for those student-athletes not to get that exposure. Just trust the NCAA and SEC. They know what’s best for student-athletes.