The NCAA banned all satellite camps on Friday, effective immediately, when it ruled that all FBS programs would only be allowed to conduct clinics at their school facilities or at facilities regularly used for competition. This effectively means Washington State will no longer be allowed to conduct its annual football summer camp circuit for high...
The NCAA banned all satellite camps on Friday, effective immediately, when it ruled that all FBS programs would only be allowed to conduct clinics at their school facilities or at facilities regularly used for competition.
This effectively means Washington State will no longer be allowed to conduct its annual football summer camp circuit for high school players in the state of California.
The Cougs have held summer football camps in California for the last two years running and were all set to do so again this June.
California has always been a recruiting hotbed for the Cougars.
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Forty-five players on the Cougars’ 2015 roster played either their prep or junior college football in the state of California, and 15 members of the 25 recruits in WSU’s 2016 recruiting class came from California.
Offensive linemen Christian Haangana (Milpitas, Calif.) and Liam Ryan (LaVerne, Calif.) from the 2016 signing class, for instance, first caught the WSU coaches’ attention at these California summer camps.
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Dave Emerick, WSU football’s Chief of Staff who oversees recruiting, said about 600 to 700 kids participated in the Cougars’ five California summer camps in San Diego, Sacramento, Los Angeles and Walnut Creek last year.
This year’s camps were scheduled for June 9-12, and the coaching staff was supposed to fly into Southern California and make their way north by bus.
Now, all that has come to a grinding halt.
As a result of the new ruling passed by the NCAA’s Division I Council, the Cougars have to cancel their California camps, though they will still hold their annual summer WSU football camp in Pullman on June 4.
Emerick said there’s also uncertainty as to whether the new NCAA rule prevents college coaches from coaching at regional camps such as the Northwest Elite camp and the All-Polynesian camp in Utah because, according to the NCAA’s new release about the rule, “FBS coaches and non-coaching staff members with responsibilities specific to football may be employed only at their school’s camps or clinics.”
The Cougars are waiting to hear back from their compliance office about whether their coaches will be allowed to coach in camps organized by independent parties.
They’re by no means the only team affected by the NCAA’s ruling, which was sparked by a controversy that started last summer when new Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh and several other Big Ten programs held numerous football camps in the South to heighten their exposure in the fertile recruiting grounds that have traditionally been SEC territory.
SEC coaches took umbrage because, along with the ACC, they are the only two conferences that had existing rules preventing their coaches from working camps outside a 50-mile radius from their campuses.
The Pac-12 had no rule against satellite camps, and many schools, including Arizona, Arizona State, Oregon State and Colorado, all had their own California camp circuit, Emerick said.
But ultimately, the constituency the rule will affect most is high school recruits.
“It appears that the selfish interests of a few schools and conferences prevailed over the best interests of future potential student-athletes,” WSU coach Mike Leach said in a text message to the Seattle Times. “The mission of universities and athletic programs should be to provide future student-athletes with exposure to opportunities, not to limit them. It appears to me that some universities and conferences are willing to sacrifice the interests of potential student-athletes for no better reasons than to selfishly monopolize their recruiting bases.
“I will be fascinated to hear any legitimate reasoning behind this ruling. We need to rethink this if we are actually what we say we are.”
The new ruling will make it more difficult for programs to get to evaluate recruits in person, though Emerick said the Cougars will just have to do the best they can and “keep being diligent about getting kids on our campus and doing what we can to get kids out here.”
“Taking away satellite camps eliminates an opportunity for quality (student-athletes) to be trained, seen and advised by college coaches,” WSU linebackers coach Ken Wilson tweeted on Friday.
The ruling is unpopular with high school coaches too.
“It definitely hurts guys and makes it tougher to get recognized and evaluated,” Venice (Calif.) High coach Angelo Gasca said Friday morning in several text messages to the Seattle Times.
For instance, Gasca, who coached WSU receiver Gabe Marks in high school, said 10 of his players went to Nebraska’s camp at Santa Monica College last summer.
These satellite camps present “a good experience and opportunity for guys to get in front of coaches and gauge themselves against other recruits as well,” Gasca said. “No way our guys can afford to visit many schools on their own.
“It’s probably not a good deal for high school guys (and it’s) gonna affect guys in remote areas even more.”
Kids can still sign up and participate in camps hosted by schools they are interesting in playing at, of course, but this limits options for high school recruits who don’t have the financial means to travel to camps around the country.
WSU had about 110 participants at its camp in Pullman last summer, but as Emerick pointed out, “I don’t think 400 kids from Los Angeles will be able to afford plane tickets to come to WSU.”