A raging debate surrounding college football these days is the use of so-called “satellite camps.” There’s not much debate at the high school level, though, that these increasingly popular camps are a benefit to local players.
The recent phenomenon of satellite camps has sparked heated discussions at the NCAA level about the fairness of them, primarily because different conferences have different rules about coach participation. And thus, some coaches are understandably not thrilled about schools planting quasi-recruiting posts in their local hotbeds.
Essentially, coaches of far-flung programs will sign on as guests contributors at camps to get a look at kids who otherwise would never make it to a camp on their campus.
“Instead of a kid having to go all the way to a college, say to Oklahoma or LSU or Boise State to a camp on their campus where you have to pay for travel and then $300 on top of that for the camp, they can go right down the street and spend $30 and they get exposure to the coaches,” Legacy football coach Chris Melson explained. “That’s what you really want, anyway. I think they’re great for kids in our area because they have so many of them around here.”
And while colleges can bicker about their fairness, local coaches agree it creates better opportunities for their athletes.
“If there’s anything that helps a kid get recognized and get an opportunity to get a college scholarship, I’m all for it,” Mansfield coach Daniel Maberry said.
Both Melson and Mayberry said several players from their respective schools expect to take part in some of this summer’s local camps. While there is some coaching and skills work, many function largely as an evaluation for players. In the big picture, they may not have direct benefit to high school teams, but the coaches recommend them nonetheless.
“I don’t know if it influences our team,” Maberry said. “If anything, I think it gives some kids exposure, which is always a good thing for your program. You’re kids are being seen and recognized. I don’t think that necessarily directly impacts our team, but it’s just something there that’s a benefit for the kids. Anytime I think you get exposure for your team it’s a good thing.”
Melson also pointed out it could help a player improve individually by giving him an accurate assessment of where he stands compared to others at his position. The camps can also help players understand where they each need to improve more.
“If I was a parent and I thought my son wanted to play somewhere in college, I would definitely take advantage of it,” he said.