For Jimbo Fisher, it’s a matter of keeping up with the competition.
Satellite camps have become a hot-button topic in college football and at the ACC spring meetings. Coaches are all over the board, some still evaluating whether to jump aboard, others deciding not to participate and others already scheduling camps.
“Do I think it’s crazy? Yes I do,” Fisher said.
A month ago, Fisher said he had not seriously considered hosting or attending satellite camps. But at that time, they were banned by the NCAA’s Division I council, a decision Fisher supported. That decision recently was overturned by the NCAA board of directors, which now makes satellite camps legal. Now Fisher says he’s going to have to reconsider.
And Fisher calls out anybody who says this is not all about one thing.
“Make no mistake about it, it’s about opportunities in recruiting,” Fisher said. “That’s what it all gets down to. You’re not having recruiting talk, you’re not doing anything illegal but that’s the fact. They don’t want to say that, but that’s not true.”
Fisher has not scheduled to attend or host a satellite camp. … yet. Neither has Miami coach Mark Richt. Two ACC programs, though, are scheduled to participate in satellite camps in Florida. NC State will attend a camp at FAU and Boston College will join Ohio State and others at a camp at Florida Tech in Melbourne.
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney has turned down all offers. Swinney said if he’s at a camp, he wants it on his campus.
“I don’t have to go to Fort Lauderdale to run a satellite camp to see if a guy can run and jump,” Swinney said. “I have access to all of that.”
Richt and Fisher have received several calls from high schools and small colleges asking if they would attend a camp at their facility — schools are permitted to send a coach or coaches anywhere in the country to participate in a camp but they are not allowed to “host” the camp outside its own state or a 50-mile radius.
Richt said he received a call asking if he’d host a camp for other schools at Miami.
“One school’s like, ‘Hey, we could do it on your campus, the U.’ Nah, I don’t think we’ll be doing that, I can tell you,” Richt said. “We won’t be sharing our campus with another school, that’s for sure. We’ll have our own camps. Whether or not we go to another one is another story.”
One thing is certain: Neither Fisher nor Richt — or likely any other ACC coach — will schedule 26 camps in 15 states over three weeks in June as Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh has.
At least two of those camps Harbaugh is attending are in Florida; one at Trinity Christian Academy in Jacksonville and one at the University of South Florida.
“You have to understand what you are doing to assistant coaches, coaches’ families, the time constraints,” Fisher said. “Family time for coaches has been eaten up. And now you’re adding this to it. There is definitely an issue.
“At the same time, you want to keep your job, too.”
And as for Harbaugh’s argument that banning camps would mean denying high school players in remote areas from being seen and therefore being offered a scholarship?
“I don’t buy that,” Fisher said. “The kids are being seen, by everybody. There is not a kid out there who has not been seen with Rivals, and Openings and 247s, Under Armour, video. … there is not one kid out there that’s not getting in front of major college coaches.”
Fisher’s solution is to allow coaches from non-Power 5 and FCS programs to attend camps at schools like Florida State and ban satellite camps.
“Let all those guys come to your camp, see all the players you want, evaluate all the players,” he said.
“You’re opening up Pandora’s box. Have some common sense. Guys don’t understand this business that are making judgements on that.”