On Satellite Camps, Idaho, and Ole Miss

Three issues hit the college football world last week.

First, the NCAA overturned its ban on satellite camps, delighting Jim Harbaugh, who has a camp already set up with Georgia, and frustrating Hugh Freeze.

Second, speaking of Freeze, he had to be sick to his stomach when former embattled Rebel OT Laremy Tunsil confessed to accepting money from members of the Ole Miss football staff.

Third, Idaho announced that it was moving from the FBS to the FCS, joining the Big Sky in 2018.

I'll actually start with the least controversial move, made by the Vandals. Idaho becomes the first school to move down from college football's highest tier. It's the right decision. For one, dropping down to the Big Sky greatly cuts costs for the athletic department, who no longer would have to travel to Lafayette, Louisiana or Jonesboro, Arkansas for games. It allows a renewal of regional rivalries ... an Idaho/Montana matchup sounds more intriguing than an Idaho/Georgia Southern tilt. And, it gives their football players a legitimate chance at playing for a national championship.

Let's face it, there are a lot of teams who will take the field this summer and start practicing for a season in which, even if they ran the table undefeated, have no chance of winning a national title. What's the point? Money, obviously. And, while upsets against Power Five teams are frequent, every student-athlete should be able to compete for a national title. Idaho is giving their kids a chance. Other schools should aim for the same, especially as the gap widens between the haves and have nots.

The NCAA was correct in lifting the satellite camp ban, for now. There's nothing illegal about it and, if some coaches want to do this to recruit wider areas, so be it. Signing Day should be celebrated, regardless of ranking, as so many young students get to sign a contract for free education to go with their athletic prowess. However, it's easy to see that with satellite camps, there will have to be some restrictions, as competition eventually can lead to controversy.

Personally, I think if you hold satellite camps on college campuses, JUCO campuses or NFL sites, they're perfectly fine. Where I draw the line is holding any at high schools. The atmosphere of recruiting is still toxic enough that holding too many camps at high schools will open a lot of Pandora's boxes. Also, I'm firmly against holding spring practice on a high school campus, as Michigan did when they traveled to IMG Academy in Florida. While I think Harbaugh was brilliant in getting a very high-profile high school athletic program to host his Wolverines, I think that can really open up a lot of cans of worms. Let the kids come to local colleges and work out and if southern colleges and junior colleges want to host northern teams for spring football, go for it. For now though, let's keep the high school turf to high schools.

Finally, there's the Tunsil fiasco for Ole Miss. It's an interesting situation. On one hand, the NCAA is going to be forced to investigate and, if the statement was true, punish Ole Miss severely. On the other hand, when has the NCAA done anything right on an investigation? They're still working on North Carolina, they botched Miami's inquiry completely, they took light years to finish up the Reggie Bush investigation at USC ... the NCAA can't be trusted to do this right. Remember, the NCAA already has sent a laundry list of violations in the direction of Oxford ... this is just gasoline to the fire right now.

So, if I'm an Ole Miss fan, I hold my breath. I know the NCAA could totally screw this up, Tunsil could say nothing more and that's that, or the NCAA might go overboard to prove a point and deliver something extra harsh. The former is more likely than the latter. However, what will harm the Rebels now is that Tunsil's remarks will echo in every recruit's home until the NCAA has completed its investigation. There is no doubt their recruiting will take a toll and even a great class will now come under heavy scrutiny, likely making a recruit think twice before heading to Ole Miss.

Even with spring football over, college football never ceases to hibernate quietly. Last week was more than enough proof.

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