Jim Harbaugh's satellite camps may look much different next year.
The NCAA Division I Council proposed significant changes today to the current camp structure, embraced by Harbaugh, where the primary rules were that it had to be in June and no more than 15 consecutive days.
So Harbaugh took his staff to nearly 40 spots in dozens of states and two different countries last summer, spreading the Michigan message.
The new proposals will be far more restrictive, down to just 10 days, though they would not have to be consecutive, "providing greater flexibility to attend more events and visit with more students at various locations."
They will also have to be held at NCAA schools and take place on campus or at a facility used "for practice or competition." The stated intent is that way there will be oversight for health and safety of the participants.
While Harbaugh insisted his purpose was instruction and he and his staff were actively involved for that purpose, now the NCAA admits "the purpose of the camps to one focused primarily on recruiting." By keeping them at NCAA member schools, they can be more easily monitored.
The intent "would allow all coaches participating in the camps or clinics to have recruiting conversations with participating prospective student-athletes during the event." Previously, that was the concern of other coaches, who felt Harbaugh was taking a recruiting advantage because recruiting conversations were restricted at the camps but he was still in the presence of recruits working out.
Now, nearly every school that can afford it will attend multiple camps to use their coveted 10 days of live interaction, seeing players in a workout environment. Only coaches allowed to recruit off campus and graduate assistants who have passed the recruiting test will be able to participate.
“We needed to limit the number of days (for camps and clinics) and do things differently than we did before,” said Bob Bowlsby, chair of the Division I Football Oversight Committee, which proposed the legislation. “But the best chance for us to manage this is to acknowledge that the summer is about recruiting, not skill development, and to manage it in ways that reflect best on our universities and the process.”
The official vote on the proposals will come in April from the Council.
Last April 8, the Council banned the camps, setting off a firestorm than was eventually rescinded by the NCAA Board of Directors at the end of April, allowing Harbaugh's camp tour.
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