The NCAA's vote to ban satellite camps has been pretty universally reviled by many college football fans and the media that covers the sport alike. Some coaches have also come out and loudly protested it, none more so than our own head coach Mike Leach. He spent about 13 minutes on The Rich Eisen Show yesterday railing against the rule, which prevents schools from going to or setting up satellite camps more than 50 miles from campus (this is a pretty stupendously big issue for Washington State, especially since the Lewiston area isn't exactly a recruiting hot bed).
Here's the full interview but we've selected some highlights below as well.
Leach comes out of the gate strong right around the 1:20 mark with a pretty damning indictment of the NCAA:
For all our posturing and pompously parading around and pretending everything is about the student-athlete, we've just cut out a whole bunch of opportunities for them and we've done it for no better reason than we're selfishly, jealously, trying to guard our recruiting areas. Or we're too lazy to work the camps.
Mike Leach has never been known to pull punches with something he's passionate about and it helps in this situation because he's dead friggin' on. The new rule, quite literally, only favors the schools and their ability to continue making money. There's no advantage, whatsoever, to the ban on satellite camps for potential student-athletes. If the NCAA is supposed to care about the well-being of their student-athletes, why making such a rule that so blatantly favors the schools? Oh right, money.
Leach's makes a really important note about the schools that seemed to care most about get rid of these camps.
If you think about various parts of the country, take the SEC for example. All the schools in the SEC are within 5 hours of each other. If I was in the SEC, I wouldn't have a satellite camp. I wouldn't be so paranoid and non-competitive I'd be against them, I'd still be in favor....the best thing is to have the players come to your campus.
Again, Leach is pretty spot on here. The 50 miles rule is pretty easy on SEC schools considering the rich recruiting ground they're around and the fact that so many recruits can actually drive to their campus if they so choose. Pullman...doesn't quite have that luxury. Heck, even Seattle and Eugene don't have a ton of the West Coast's best recruits within reasonable driving distance.
As far as Leach knew though, most of the Pac-12 schools were against the ban. So imagine his surprise when the conference actually voted to enact it.
We're trying to uncover this, I'm sure most of the Pac-12 is trying to uncover this. The Pac-12 poll (on satellite camps), 11 in favor of satellite camps, one abstention. Now how that unfolds into a vote against satellite camps, I can't imagine. It's unfathomable.
It very well may not be unfathomable though. Leach's impression may have been that the rest of the schools (minus one) were fine with it but it's not hard to imagine all the California schools wanting that rich recruiting ground shut off to everyone else, especially the Pacific Northwest schools that depend on it so heavily. Throw in Arizona State and Arizona who have some decent recruits in that area and all you need is one more of Washington, Oregon and Utah.
My favorite quote though might have been when Eisen asked if Leach thinks that Jim Harbaugh is blame for the ban.
I hope not. Are they really that sensitive...would they really be that paranoid and petty and say, "Okay,we're mad at Jim Harbaugh and we don't like him or his tone of voice and now we're gunna screw over the student-athletes a ton of other schools would have the opportunity to see and recruit because Jim Harbaugh was mean to us and we didn't like what he said and he hurt our feelings." And somebody down there went and chalked Jim Harbaugh's name on the side walk and our feelings are hurt and we live in fear so please change the rule. And by the way, lets call it the "lets screw everyone out of recruiting rule". Are you kidding me?
Never change, coach.
The full interview is really worth your time, especially the end where Leach describes his "imagination" to Eisen. But it's hard to think of something I've heard Leach speak more passionately about than his distaste for this ban and for good reason: it puts WSU at a competitive disadvantage when they already had enough of one.