Penn State and Notre Dame exploiting SEC's own rules
MAY 29, 2014 12:45p ET
A rising issue within the Southeastern Conference that's making some noise down at the spring meetings in Destin, Fla., is the topic of "satellite camps."
Here are the basics: NCAA rules prohibit coaches from running camps more than 50 miles from their respective campuses.
What the NCAA does not prohibit, however, is coaches participating in camps more than 50 miles from their campuses. That would be against the rules only if a conference says it is, and the SEC is one conference that doesn't allow its coaches to do this.
Franklin, an aggressive guy hellbent on recruiting and bringing his SEC approach from Vanderbilt to Penn State, and his staff are scheduled to participate -- but, remember, not "run" -- camps this summer at Georgia State (Atlanta) and Stetson (Deland, Fla.).
This conveniently allows Penn State coaches to work in rich SEC recruiting territories and get individual access to top recruits they normally wouldn't have otherwise. Franklin told reporters in May:
"Our thought was that the Big Ten and NCAA rules allow you to do these things," Franklin said. "And we wanted to not only have camps on our campus -- which we're going to have a bunch of them -- but also be able to maybe take the Penn State brand and be able to take it to part of the country (where) maybe young men and families wouldn't be able to make it to our place. And I'm fired up about it. It seems like the high school coaches are as well."
This has many SEC coaches upset, because they don't have the same flexibility. Per their conference's rules, SEC coaches can't participate at satellite camps in Ohio, Texas, California or other hotbeds for talent that exist beyond the 50-mile radius from their campuses.
Here are a few SEC opinions, courtesy of ESPN:
Ole Miss' Hugh Freeze: "I wish it was a national rule. I don't particularly want another school in a BCS conference coming into our state and running a camp. So we would like to see our rule be a national rule. I'd love to see it be the same."
Mississippi State's Dan Mullen on the national rule proposal: "I think it's a rule that makes sense. If you're going to have a football camp ... I don't know how Penn State relates to Georgia State football camp, but for us, I think our league (rule) will make sense."
Ole Miss athletic director Ross Bjork: "That's our backyard, so anytime those things happen, your eyes and ears perk up to say, 'What do we need to address (the issue) if that's a hindrance.' If it's a competitive disadvantage, then we need to look at it."
Notre Dame is also planning to dip into SEC territory via satellite camps.
According to a 247Sports report, the Irish are working with Georgia State to set up a camp for next summer.
The satellite issue reaches beyond the SEC, and it's not just Penn State and Notre Dame that are exploiting the rule loophole.
Oklahoma State will coach at camps across Texas this summer, as Yahoo Sports wrote last August. New Mexico will also make its presence known in Texas, and Iowa State will be visiting the Chicago area.
Of course, none of these schools is in the "wrong." They're not breaking any rules that apply to them, and it's not their issue if the SEC's rulebook doesn't allow its members similar flexibility. Franklin probably speaks for them all when he told reporters:
"We're going to go wherever we have to go to find players. We're going to read the rules and understand the rules, and, like you guys have heard me say before, it's not like we're going to lack for enthusiasm or lack for work ethic. We'll go wherever we got to go."
So what can the SEC do? It has two obvious options.
Commissioner Mike Slive could approach the NCAA and ask the Indianapolis office to do something about the loophole, which, given the pace at which NCAA legislation crosses desks, could take frustratingly long.
Or, the SEC could amend its own rules and allow its coaches the same opportunities. If Slive did that, by the weekend Nick Saban would be particpating in a camp in Los Angeles and Les Miles would be in Dallas.
"We all would if we could," Kentucky coach Mark Stoops told media in Destin about whether SEC coaches would hit the road and join these satellite camps. Of course. Who wouldn't? For a league as competitively dominant as the SEC, it's a bit surprising that its own rules are restricting such activity in the first place.
In related news: As is, the SEC accounts for seven of the top 10 recruiting classes in 247Sports' 2015 composite rankings.
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Teddy Mitrosilis is an editor and writer for FOXSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @TMitrosilis.