ATHENS — Kirby Smart and other SEC head coaches will have to reluctantly re-start their satellite camp plans.
The NCAA reversed itself on Thursday, putting back in place the ability for schools to hold the camps. Those occur when another college or university, or a high school, hosts another school’s camp. Penn State, for instance, held a satellite camp at Georgia State two years ago.
The SEC was against the camps, ostensibly because it meant more work in the summer, but also because the perception was most of the satellite camps would entail northern schools coming into their territory.
It wasn’t just paranoia: Michigan and Ohio State both had satellite camps planned for June in the Atlanta area. Those were called off by the initial ruling two weeks ago, but they’re back on now.
So too, presumably, are Smart’s plans for camps, which he didn’t specify but made clear existed.
“We’ve got a plan ready. You’ll see soon enough,” Smart said at the time.
The SEC reacted to Thursday’s news by releasing a statement in which commissioner Greg Sankey both re-affirmed the conference’s position and the fact that its schools would now be free to join in the satellite camps.
“While we are disappointed with the NCAA governance process result, we respect the Board of Directors’ decision and are confident SEC football programs will continue to be highly effective in their recruiting efforts,” Sankey said. “We continue to believe football recruiting is primarily an activity best-focused in high schools during the established recruiting calendar, which has provided opportunities for football prospective student-athletes from all across the country to obtain broad national access and exposure but with appropriate guidance from high school coaches, teachers and advisors that focuses on both their academic and athletic opportunities as they decide where they will play college football.
“SEC coaches will be allowed to engage in summer camps as a result of Conference legislation approved during the 2015 SEC Spring Meetings.”
The SEC’s rule is due to expire on May 29. At that point it will presumably be game on. But for the SEC schools it may be more about playing defense – trying to stop the northern schools from gaining a foothold – than invading other areas. There so far haven’t been any indications, for instance, that Georgia plans to retaliate and hold camps in Ohio or Michigan.
When the NCAA initially instituted the ban, Smart admitted it was a “sigh of relief.”
“We were gung ho, we were going to do what we had to do,” Smart said at the time. “We were going to go compete and go do some satellite camps.”
Now that will apparently happen after all. The SEC still technically has a rule against the camps, but was up-front that if the NCAA didn’t do something, then the SEC would rescind its own rule. That will likely now happen swiftly.