If we can, let's remove the politics of the situation for a moment and think only about the kids. That's what this is all about in the first place, isn't it? Satellite camps are a good thing for kids.
It's a good thing for Atlanta high school football players for James Franklin and his Penn State staff to come to them. It's a good thing for players in southern California and Houston and Alabama to get in front of Jim Harbaugh and his Michigan staff on their own turf. More opportunity, more options, more information for both parties to make informed opinions on one another, and less strain on families.
We can all agree on this, yes?
Now let's examine Nick Saban's comments on satellite camps in light of the above paragraphs. "If we're all going to travel all over the country to have satellite camps, you know, how ridiculous is that?" Saban said Tuesday. "I mean we're not allowed to go to all-star games, but now we're going to have satellite camps all over the country. So it doesn't really make sense."
Added newly-minted SEC commissioner Greg Sankey: "As we remember camps, they were instructional and development opportunities. Now, what we're talking about is recruiting tours. So, let's just be clear about what we're really talking about here."
Sure, they are recruiting tours, or "combines" as Dabo Swinney called them Wednesday. Where is the problem here? And how is it different than Saban sending his staff to speak to Texas high school coaches on an annual basis?
The SEC has barred its members from hosting satellite camps out of a (entirely legitimate) concern its schools would camp each other to death, with Alabama hosting a camp as close as possible to LSU's Tiger Stadium and vice versa. But that doesn't mean the Big Ten should forfeit a good rule just because SEC coaches need to be protected from themselves.
Check out Sankey's threat here: "I'm not sure that the others want our coaches going to places like State College, Pennsylvania. Because very clearly, if we do take the approach that others have ... it will certainly, I would expect, change the tone of the conversation."
My response? Do it. Smart coaches will still limit the amount of their summer they devote to camping-around-the-country tours so as to provide a much-needed break for their staffs and themselves before the grind of the season arrives in late July. With a limited amount of time available, why not get as wide array of players as the limits of time and space allow in front of your coaches? Why not give those State College prospects a chance to be evaluated by Alabama's coaches? (And let's not kid ourselves, 'Bama isn't coming to State College.)
Again, think about what Saban and the anti-satellite crowd are saying here. "Can't afford to come to us? Sorry, you aren't camping with us - and you shouldn't be camping with Michigan, either?" Is that really what we want football to be?