BOCA RATON, Fla. — Michigan’s condensed June satellite camp tour continued Monday afternoon in South Florida when Jim Harbaugh and his staff marched through the rain and into the athletic complex at Florida Atlantic University.
The coaches may have been weary from a few days of travel and coaching, but they didn’t show it. Consider Michigan’s June 2016 satellite camp tour, which took the coaches from Florida to American Samoa.
The world tour won’t happen this year, as NCAA legislation enacted last spring has restricted the number of satellite camps for college coaches. A program is allowed to work at camps or clinics within a 10-day period in June or July, and camps can only be held on college campuses or in college facilities. Previously, coaches could work at camps for two consecutive periods of 15 days, without location restrictions.
Michigan has found another loophole. There are no restrictions on the number of camps a program can work at, and Michigan will have coaches at 11 camps from June 2 to June 11.
“There were how many we did last year, 28, 29, 30?” Harbaugh asked, rhetorically, prior to Monday’s satellite camp at FAU. “Now we’re doing 10 [days]. That’s the difference. We went from 30 to 10. I keep saying the same thing, from 30 to 10, that’s a pretty simple recalibration.”
What the schedule looks like
With that in mind, Michigan has gotten creative in how it staffs satellite camps. In some instances, it splits its staff between two camps on one day. If the camps are within a certain proximity, Michigan might travel to both camps.
“It’s not that difficult,” Harbaugh said. “You plan, you book flights ahead of time and then make sure you get on those flights and come to the camps and do what you do naturally. You coach, and you connect with people. You have that great opportunity. It doesn’t require being that resourceful.”
Michigan has not officially released its schedule of satellite camps or its appearances across the country, but several college football programs have announced that Michigan will staff programs at individual schools.
|Camp date||Camp location|
|June 2||John Carroll University, University Heights, Ohio|
|June 2||Mercer University, Macon, Ga.|
|June 3||Bowie (Md.) State University|
|June 3||Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas|
|June 4||Valdosta (Ga.) State University|
|June 4||Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Va.|
|June 5||Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, Fla.|
|June 9||Tennessee State University, Nashville|
|June 10||University of San Diego|
|June 10||Sacred Heart University, Fairfield, Conn.|
|June 11||University of Southern California, Los Angeles|
Last week in Cleveland, Harbaugh explained that “with the changing landscape, we offered our services” to other schools for satellite camps. Michigan didn’t get to pick and choose as much as it did in previous years where it wanted to send its coaches.
FAU coach Lane Kiffin said Michigan contacted his staff about working at the camp in talent-rich South Florida. Oregon coach Willie Taggart said his staff reached out to Kiffin.
“I think it was a function of who wanted us as much or more [who we wanted] than where we ended up going,” Harbaugh said.
Maximizing the window
Taggart, who played for Jack Harbaugh at Western Kentucky and coached with Jim Harbaugh at Stanford, doesn’t chide Michigan for maximizing the rules.
“Coach Harbaugh, he thinks outside the box,” Taggart said. “He’s very smart in the things he’ll do, and a lot of people were upset with him but he’s done nothing wrong. He was going out and selling his program, but he was also going out and teaching young people. That gets lost in it all because so many people were worried about competing and recruiting. Recruiting is not just camp.
“When I was down at South Florida, he came down and did a camp, and the beauty of it is that he’s not one those guys who just sits around and watches. He’s actually working and helping and teaching the kids. And they’re spreading the Michigan brand all over by doing that, so it’s pretty smart.”
Taggart also explained he isn’t a fan of the NCAA legislation that restricts satellite camps, a move that many believe came about because of how Michigan took advantage of the status quo — one of many moves Harbaugh has made to push the envelope when it comes to coaching, recruiting and promoting Michigan’s program and its brand.
The SEC became the most vocal opponent of Michigan’s tactics, from conference commissioner Greg Sankey to Alabama coach Nick Saban. Saban compared the satellite camps to “the wild, wild West,” but added, “I’m not blaming Jim Harbaugh.”
“I liked all the old rules,” Taggart said. “They come up with all these new rules, to hold everybody accountable to those rules, then we won’t have any issues. I didn’t see anything wrong with it. I think, to each his own. If other guys want to do it, then can go out and do it, but they don’t have to. The ones that don’t want to do it, they had a problem with it and had to come up with some rules for it.”
A matter of resources
Michigan can tackle an ambitious satellite camp schedule because of the resources it has. Satellite camp trips have cost Michigan nearly $500,000 in the last two years; Michigan spent more than $330,000 to finance a month-long satellite camp tour in June 2016 but also received financial backing from an unnamed donor.
“We aspire to be like Jim Harbaugh,” Kiffin quipped. “No, seriously, he does a great job. He gets everywhere, and they have the resources there to do that, too. They’ve got to get private planes, and do a lot to get all that done. We try to do as much as we can. We don’t nationally recruit as much as they do. We were at a camp Saturday, one in New Orleans and one in South Florida, and we’ll be at one in Georgia and have some of our guys at a different one.”
Taggart and his staff, meanwhile, will take an approach similar to Michigan in the coming days. Oregon plans to have coaches at camps in Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles and Sacramento, and at their on-campus camp in Eugene, Ore.
“So we’re all over the place, too,” Taggart said. “And, hopefully, we can find a gem in there.”
Land of 10’s Kevin Goheen contributed to this report