Some times it's best to let sleeping dogs lie. Some problems require complex solutions to be adequately corrected. As our 2016 presidential candidates have shown us, those types of solutions are hard, man.
The NCAA Division I Council (surprise, surprise) stuck their hand into a snake pit that they were not ready to wrangle after voting to ban "satellite" camps this week. A proposal submitted by the ACC flew through the voting phase so quickly that it's hard to imagine extensive research on the issue was conducted by the athletic directors representing their conferences on the council.
In our national drought of offseason college football news, discussion regarding this new legislation has suffocated the college football media landscape. You can read some of our staff's opinions on the ban here and here.
I won't hit you over the head with more analysis of the impact of the camp ban but I do have a simple proposal that the NCAA and the council could utilize to create an equally competitive ground for summer camp evaluations that are crucial to underprivileged and under-recruited high school athletes.
First off, let's be clear-- this summer camp satellite ban came into existence for one reason. Annual top 10 recruiting classes aren't enough for the Dabo Swinnys and the Nick Sabans of the world.
The mere whiff of Jim Harbaugh and James Franklin south of the Mason-Dixie was enough for the SEC and the ACC to push for this ban in an attempt to prevent northern conference coaches from establishing relationships with top recruits and getting their eyes on some potential late bloomers.
Any impact to other conferences is purely collateral damage. Many voting members of the Division I Council likely submitted poorly educated votes without understanding the impact the ban would have on their coaching staff and prospective student athletes. Satellite camps haven't been much of a hot-button issue outside of south Florida and the deep south.
Understanding that the SEC is always going to get what the SEC wants, let's work to bring the camps back while still accomplishing the de facto objective of the ban.
Extending the permissible radius in which off-campus summer camps can be held will ease travel burdens on recruits and their families while also giving coaching staffs valuable opportunities to shake hands with identified recruiting targets and put some new athletes on their radar after running them through drills.
A 300-mile radius will allow most programs to recruit in their bordering state or at least dip into major talent pools in their home state. This legislation will allow Wyoming to recruit the Denver area and Tulsa to dip into the hotbed of talent in Dallas, but Ohio State won't be able to set up camp in Miami any time soon. Seems like everybody wins, no?
While no solution to the satellite camp "problem" will satisfy all parties, the status quo will turn ugly quick. Recruiting will not take a vacation for three months. Instead we'll see a proliferation of third-party combines and scouting camps.
These camps can run north of four digits in cost and the parents of prospective student-athletes will be conned into emptying their pocketbooks through scare tactics after receiving zero to little contact from college coaching staffs over the summer months.
Rest assured, we'll also see a resurgence of "street agents," shady figures that receive money under the table from coaching staffs to bus big-time athletes hundreds of miles to meet coaching staffs across the country, free of charge to the prospective student athlete.
Assuming that recruiting will simply slow down in the summer months is optimistic at best, naive at worse. It will simply drive recruiting further underground, providing an even bigger headache to the NCAA in the coming years.
Let's nip it in the bud by allowing staffs to set up summer camps within 300 miles of campus or exploring other innovative ways to permit recruit-to-staff in person contact in the summer months.