One day after Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban questioned the value of satellite football camps Thursday in Indianapolis, the NCAA banned them indefinitely effective immediately Friday.
Saban, –unarguably college football’s most powerful and influential head coach—stated in a interview that satellite camps outside of Alabama—or any other state for that matter—offered no real value to AL.com,
“I’m really not even thinking that it has that much value,” Saban said. “What would be a more interesting question for you to research — and I can’t answer this — the teams that have done them, what value does it serve? How many players did they get? They had some players commit to them and some of those players decommitted, and I know they even wanted to drop some of those players when they found out they could get better players.”
Prior to their ruling against satellite camps, the NCAA did not prohibit football coaches from working as a guest conductor at a football camp outside of his school’s 50-mile radius, but the SEC and ACC have bylaws that prevent their football coaches from doing so, per NBC’s CollegeFootballTalk.com. Due to this, coaches such as Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh were able to take advantage of such a loophole in hosting such satellite football camps deep in the heart of SEC country.
So what changed the NCAA’s stance so quickly within 24 hours?
If this writer were to take a guess, it was the combination of college football’s most dominant conference and the most powerful head coach in Saban flexing their collective muscle in reminding college football as to who is really boss.
Per ESPN’s Mitch Sherman, while Saban was vocally against satellite camps based on the theory that the proliferation of such camps could lead to dozens of camps annually in heavily populated cities, such a proverbial 360-degree ruling speaks to the volumes of Saban being the de facto kingmaker of college football, and in essence, exerting a sphere of invisible—yet potent—form of influence.
How does one man have such sway and influence over the sport, you may ask, when various other Power 5 conferences such as the Pac-12, Big 12 all voted to end such camps, with the Big Ten being the lone exception?
It’s called POWER. And Saban just gave all of college football a prime example of it.
Some will deny that he had no direct influence in the Division I Football Oversight Committee’s swift and abrupt reversal, but before you debate this, ask yourself this question, if Saban would not have said anything and the SEC and ACC decided to do the same, would this even be an issue considering both conference’s (in the form of Alabama vs. Clemson) just playing against each other in the national title game?
Personally, this writer calls bullshit on the NCAA for basically being in bed with both the SEC and Saban in the so-called value and controversy over satellite camps on the basis that if it was advantageous to either Saban, the SEC or the ACC, they’d be more than happy to allow them.
Since they see them as a possible threat and inconvenience, Saban bellowed his displeasure, and like the loyal and loving mistress that the backbone-lacking NCAA is, chose to play favorites when it comes to its southern sugar daddy in the form of the SEC, in acquiescing and obeying ever so willingly.
Sad that even in the off-season after winning ANOTHER national title, that the SEC scores yet another win vs. the Big Ten—this time, off of the gridiron.