Of all people, Curtis Blackwell had a right to be angry.
The high school football camp he founded, Sound Mind Sound Body, had its greatest selling point taken away by the NCAA Division I Council’s April 8 satellite camp ban.
The rule prohibited coaches from working and/or attending a camp with prospects off their own campus, a main reason so many kids of all skill levels came to the event for exposure each summer.
Yet when the ban was rescinded by the Division I Board of Directors today, Blackwell was thrilled at the result and appreciated how the organization landed there.
“The first thing I thought about was the NCAA got it right,” he said. “The process, for as much as everyone was worried about everything, the biggest thing is that had they not had a process and another step for it to be reviewed we would not be sitting here talking about it today. That’s the silver lining in this whole story. It was an opportunity for it to be reviewed. They got it right. Sometimes the best move is no move and that’s what occurred today.”
Now working for Michigan State’s football program as the director of college advancement and performance, lifting the ban means that he has the freedom to attend the camp he helped found.
While others run Sound Mind Sound Body now — they expect more than 500 college coaches to attend the two-day sold-out event in Detroit his summer — Blackwell still feels a strong tie to the city where he grew up and coached at Detroit King.
“This means that I can come to the city of Detroit and Wayne State on June 9-10 and talk to all the young people from the city of Detroit, coaches who have dreams of being on campuses like myself and talking to them and continue to motivate and inspire and empower people,” he said. “That’s what I’ve always wanted to do …. It’s not only a win for me by a win for the city of Detroit and the Midwest.”
While the ban was viewed as a response from the SEC and ACC to the Big Ten — especially U-M’s Jim Harbaugh and Penn State’s James Franklin, who were aggressive entering the Southeast with the camps — Blackwell focused more of the effect on Sound Mind Sound Body. Though he believed his time helping kids in the city made an impact, he saw it after the ban, when many former camp participants spoke out on Twitter against the ruling, talking about the impact the camp had on them.
“You work your whole life to try to help young people and make things better through the efforts you put forth but when you see everyone stand up and say something, it makes you realize, all of the time I spent working for people in Detroit as a high school coach and running camps that something I did made a difference because they spoke out about how they felt,” Blackwell said. “That’s great because typically we have a tough time getting our young people to stay off social media so for them to use social media in a positive way it shows somehow, some way they were impacted.”
Sound Mind Sound body has six regional camps (Atlanta, Houston, Detroit, Tampa, Los Angeles, Washington D.C.) planned for the first three weeks of June.
Contact Mark Snyder: email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @mark__snyder.