Can I really be taking Jim Harbaugh’s side on an issue involving the Big 10 and the SEC? I guess so, because I see nothing wrong with the Michigan football coach setting up shop in Prattville this summer for a football camp.
The first year Wolverines coach is catching criticism from SEC coaches for taking his staff on the road to attend high school football camps in states that are hot-beds for high school talent. One of his first stops will be June 5th in Prattville where some of the top athletes in Alabama will be attending.
Here’s the rub: SEC and ACC coaches are prohibited by conference rules from doing the same. Now there’s talk about taking up legislation within the NCAA to outlaw the practice. Nick Saban called the practice, “ridiculous”.
Incoming SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said it’s important to call them what they really are: recruiting trips.
“As we remember camps, they were instructional and development opportunities,”Sankey said. “Now, what we’re talking about is recruiting tours. So, let’s just be clear about what we’re really talking about here.”
Why wouldn’t you do something like this if your school is located in Ann Arbor or South Bend? Have you ever taken a trip there in January? I have and let me tell you, that can’t be easy to recruit to in winter time. Better to build relationships in the warmth of the southern sun.
“I’m not sure that the others want our coaches going to places like State College, Penn.,” Sankey said. “Because very clearly, if we do take the approach that others have … it will certainly, I would expect, change the tone of the conversation.”
So be it.
Change the conference rules and hit the road. Can you imagine the impact of a Gus Malzahn camp in south Florida? Or why not do one in Los Angeles in July? Instead of trying to stop it, fight fire with fire. There’s no doubt the SEC would benefit more.
Harbaugh can do all the camps in Alabama he wants during the summer. These kids will still have to make the trip north in winter for an official visit. When they realize it gets dark at 4:30 pm and that the sun doesn’t come out until April, allegiances will change in a hurry.
For SEC coaches, it’s another way to spread their brand of football. Without legislation things are only going to get worse. Both Penn State and Notre Dame are heading to Georgia this summer to participate in similar camps.
I can’t find fault with Michigan or any other Big Ten school. If the rules say it’s ok, then go for it. This is a business. Don’t blame the other conferences, blame the SEC for handicapping itself.
Change the rule and get moving.
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