In 2012, ESPN and the NCAA reached a 12-year, 7.3 billion dollar deal for the rights to televise the College Football Playoff. On the same day, players such as Johnny Manziel, Deshaun Watson, Ezekiel Elliot and others saw zero dollars of compensation.
The discussion of whether college athletes should be paid has been debated time and time again. Most feel they are being taken advantage of, but the NCAA still stands by the notion that they want to “protect amateur sports.” The sad thing is that the NCAA has proven yet again that it does not care about its athletes with the recent ban on satellite camps.
For those who are unaware, satellite camps have become the talk of college football the past year, mostly thanks to Jim Harbaugh. What is a satellite camp? It’s pretty simple: typically, when a team held recruiting camps in the past, the only coaches who were on site were the coaches of that particular university. A satellite camp allowed coaches from all over the country to attend other colleges’ recruiting camps. For example, Jim Harbaugh’s staff at Michigan made stops in California, Detroit and down south this past year to recruit talent.
The idea of allowing satellite camps seems logical, right? Well, sometimes logic isn’t used in the NCAA offices. The debate started this past summer when some coaches, particularly in the SEC and ACC, discussed their disapproval of the new found popularity of these camps. These SEC and ACC coaches saw these camps as a threat because coaches like Harbaugh could now hold camps in their home states, where most of the high school football talent is concentrated.
On April 8, satellite camps were banned, effective immediately. This is just another instance of the NCAA not thinking of the “amateur” athletes who, coincidentally, make them billions of dollars. These satellite camps were an incredible opportunity for thousands of kids across the country. Now, this ban won’t affect the five-star recruit, but it will affect the two-star recruit who is low on money and relying on getting a college education due to his athletic ability. For example, a kid with middle to low FBS talent, who lives in a low income household in Columbus, Ohio would have had the opportunity this summer to showcase his abilities in front of hundreds of coaches at a satellite camp at Ohio State. There would have been a chance that he was noticed by a smaller school like Arkansas State or Toledo, and given a scholarship after the camp (something that happened a lot at these camps). Now, that same kid has only one chance this summer, and it’s with Ohio State, the cream of the crop in college football. It is much more likely that he won’t receive an offer from Urban Meyer and company. It would be impossible for him to be seen by a school like Arkansas State, because the only way he would be able to do that with this new rule is if he took a trip all the way down to Arkansas, which would be financially impossible due to his family’s circumstances.
The example above is the sad reality of this new rule: countless individuals will miss out on an opportunity to better their lives. The ban on satellite camps is just another example of how the NCAA is in it for the money. This was done solely for the NCAA to protect the bigger FBS schools in the SEC and ACC, two of their biggest cash cow conferences. For an organization that says again and again that they are in it for the beauty of “amateurism,” moves like these are confounding and hypocritical. The next time the NCAA PSA comes on with Billie Jean King that reads, “prioritizing academics, well-being, & fairness,” don’t forget to roll your eyes, because they obviously forgot their fourth priority: money.