After a lengthy debate about the merits of NCAA football satellite camps, the on-field portion of the camps has arrived with events spread through the early part of June and beyond around the country. (Or in Michigan’s case around the world.)
Here are five things to know about the camps:
What are satellite camps?
Satellite camps are gatherings of high school football players from a particular area. The events consist of players running through a series of drills, usually divided by position, and perhaps a keynote speech from a head coach in attendance. Camp attendance typically ranges from as few as 50 to as upward of 1,000 players. There typically is a small fee to participate set by the organizers. The fees range from free to as much as $150, but most are generally in the $30 to $60 range.
Why are they called satellite camps?
“Satellite” refers to college coaches being off their campuses. Most events are taking place at high schools or town/community venues with sufficient facilities.
How do they benefit college coaches?
Though college coaches are not compensated for their time in being there, many value them because they present an opportunity to see players in person rather than on a computer or TV screen. Many college football coaches prefer to not offer scholarships to players they haven’t seen in person, and these camps offer a solution for that.
The college coaches are not supposed to use the events as a means to make their sales pitches to players. They are there solely to run and provide instruction on drills. Conversations between coaches and players are supposed to focus on tutorial instruction and encouragement, not on why their college is the place to be.
How do they benefit high school players?
Most players are there to be seen by the numerous college football assistant coaches or staffers who attend the camps, though some are there to see how they stack up against their regional peers. For players without the resources to take unofficial visits or to travel far outside their region, they get the opportunity to meet prospective coaches.
Why don’t some coaches like them?
The camps were temporarily banned by a vote of the conference commissioners in the early April, but the attempted ban was overturned by the NCAA. The SEC and ACC were among the biggest detractors of the camps. First, the camps occur outside the traditional recruiting calendar and June is the lone month for coaches to get away before summer camps begin. Second, the camps also serve as an invitation to coaches from outside a region to stop in and potentially find hidden gems and lure them away from schools within the region. Third, not all programs are created equal. While most camps have coaches from multiple schools at all levels, the elite programs are in better position to spend resources to create bigger or more elaborate camps that attract better players, further separating the haves and have nots.