Nick Saban opened up this week’s SEC spring meetings in Destin, FL with some strong words on satellite camps calling them a “disadvantage” for the conference.
Satellite camps have become a hot topic of conversation recently as Big Ten schools like Penn State and Michigan have used them to make recruiting inroads into SEC territory. The term describes the practice of a school’s coach/coaching staff serving as guests at camps held by other institutions such as high schools and smaller colleges. Due to SEC restrictions, the practice does not extend to Nick Saban and his peers in the south.
Saban even went so far as to call for a completely level playing field.
“But let me say this, in general about rules … we need to have the same rules in the Big 5 in all the leagues, all five leagues. If we’re going to compete for the championship and everybody’s going to play in the playoff system and everybody’s going to compete for that, then we need to get our rules in alignment so we’re all on a level playing field, whether they’re transfer rules, whether they’re satellite camps. It’s a disadvantage not to be able to do something in one league and be able to do it in another. It’s a disadvantage to be able to recruit a player in one league and not be able to do it in another. And it’s also a disadvantage if you start bringing up things like if a player gets suspended or whatever from one school, he can’t transfer to another. Well, these things need to be global, otherwise we’re going to become a farm system for all the other leagues.”
It’s a fair point. Recruiting is a cutthroat enterprise and the SEC isn’t doing its coaches any favors by tying them down with restrictions that coaches in other conferences aren’t faced with. It’s hard enough recruiting against the ACC and fellow SEC coaches to keep local talent without the Big Ten opening a temporary shop down the road.
It doesn’t make much sense for the Power 5 not to homogenize the rules, to an extent. The national championship pie is a big one that every conference wants a piece of, and, as Saban points out, the SEC has not gotten a slice the last two years.
“Then the first question we’re going to get asked is — (the SEC) won seven national championships in a row … and the first question I get asked is ‘What’s the state of the SEC? You haven’t been in championship game the last two years.’”