Texas A&M’s move to the SEC afforded Kevin Sumlin a world of previously unattainable advantages in recruiting, most of which fall back to those three letters, S-E-C.
But leaving behind the Big 12 saddled Sumlin and company with an enormous disadvantage on the summer recruiting circuit, and it’s only getting better.
In their report, released Thursday morning, Yahoo’s Pat Forde and Dan Wetzel profiled the way schools work around NCAA bylaw 18.104.22.168, which prohibits schools from hosting satellite camps at any out-of-state location beyond 50 miles from its own campus. In this case, the pair looks at the way Oklahoma and Oklahoma State work around this rule to prevent falling behind its Big 12 brethren within the state of Texas. The Sooners and Cowboys partner with a pair of Division III schools based in Texas, McMurry for OU and Mary Hardin-Baylor for OSU, where the lower-level Lone Star State schools host camps across Texas and “hire” the assistant coaches from their respective partner schools to work the camps. Thanks to this loophole, Sooners and Cowboys assistants are able to get some ever-important face time with their recruits.
Schools are, of course, allowed to host satellite camps wherever they please within their own state borders, so McMurry and Mary Hardin-Baylor (and, thus, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State) are free to appear anywhere they’d like from El Paso to Houston and from Corpus Christi to Lubbock. In theory, this same privilge is freely available to Texas A&M’s staff as well without the need to bend the NCAA rulebook.
Except, in this case, the Aggies’ SEC membership works against them.
Participation in satellite camps is prohibited by the SEC so, in one example, at least, the Aggies ceded this advantage when they switched leagues in 2012. And Kevin Sumlin isn’t happy about it. He’s brought the issue before the SEC previously during his short time in the league, and apparently he wasn’t alone. The conference plans to revisit the issue in the future.
“These Big 12 schools can run a camp right over there,” Sumlin told Yahoo over the summer, motioning toward a field just off the A&M campus. “It wasn’t really an issue until expansion because we are on the edge of things [geographically in the SEC], and now these remote camps have become real evaluation tools for schools. It’s a real issue for us.”
When Yahoo’s story made the Internet rounds Thursday morning, Sumlin not-so-subtly pushed his agenda further into the national consciousness by typing three little letters into his keyboard.
Hmm Rt http://t.co/OJdEWC44dG
— Kevin Sumlin (@CoachSumlin) August 29, 2013