The NCAA made an enormous mistake by banning satellite camps, but it has decided to overturn that ban in a win for student-athletes and programs.
The NCAA board of directors corrected a disastrous mistake by overturning its ban of satellite camps, which critics argued would hurt student-athletes and smaller football programs.
This is a huge win for those two camps, but it also does a significant favor to Michigan football, which can resume with its camp tour schedule this summer.
The NCAA released a statement on Thursday saying it wants the Division I council, which enacted the ban, to conduct a “broad assessment of the FBS recruiting environment.”
The NCAA acknowledged in a very NCAA-like manner that its ban, which Jim Harbaugh called a knee-jerk reaction, created an uproar across the college football landscape, and outside of a select few coaches and administrators, it didn’t have any substantial support.
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There was further controversy when it was revealed that the Pac-12 and Sun Belt representatives both voted in favor of the ban, even though the majority of conference leaders opposed it.
So what did we learn from this fiasco? Many things—some already known, and other discovered.
First, the NCAA is effectively an arm of the SEC and ACC in these matters. Had officials in those conferences not complained, this ban is never put in place. And if it’s ever addressed at all in that scenario, it definitely feels less like a committee taking orders from its overlords.
Second, the NCAA benefited from crooked politics, and that needs to be addressed. As mentioned above, a majority of Pac-12 and Sun Belt athletic directors did not want this ban to be put in place, but both representatives took matters into their own hands.
There is no NCAA policy that mandates a representative to vote with the majority of their conference.
And third, the NCAA isn’t terribly concerned with the student-athlete. I certainly don’t take back what I said about fans taking phony high moral ground by clinging to student-athletes, but the fact that we latched on so quickly to that cause further exposed the NCAA for having a questionable reputation with how it treats and values student-athletes.
In an interview with Michael Rosenberg, Harbaugh even suggested dropping the term “student-athlete” because of how heavily it’s abused.
Although I don’t suspect this will happen, it’s important not to paint over what the NCAA did here. It made a terrible mistake and, in doing so, told us what we already feared and probably knew anyway: It doesn’t actually care a great deal about the big picture.
We can celebrate in the fact that this ban has been overturned—and let’s also give credit to the NCAA for saying it won’t host the Final Four in cities that allow discrimination—but this act was truly awful. A simple “oops” isn’t going to go a very long way.