CLEVELAND, Ohio – High school football coaches let out a collective sigh of relief Thursday.
Their players’ pursuit of college scholarships got a little easier when the NCAA Board of Directors overturned a ban on satellite camps. The initial ruling came three weeks earlier from the NCAA’s Division I Council, which is made of athletic directors, conference commissioners and even two student-athletes.
The temporary ban disallowed Bowl Subdivision schools from holding off-campus clinics. While Michigan and Ohio State could not venture far south, smaller Mid-American Conference programs were barred from traveling around their own states to work out high school players.
Are Ohio State and Michigan’s plans back on?In Cleveland, this meant Bedford’s college recruiting camps appeared in danger. It attracted five MAC schools and numerous Division II and III programs last year, Bedford coach Sean Williams said.
As of Monday, Williams confirmed Toledo and Ohio University will return next month.
“I’m just excited the kids are going to be able to get out here and compete against other kids and be seen by other college coaches,” he said.
Toledo will be at Bedford on May 31, and Ohio comes June 8. Miami (Ohio) also will hold a June 8 camp at Independence High School, Nordonia coach Jeff Fox said.
A vocal supporter of satellite camps, Fox is happy they are back on.
“It means a lot for kids who go through this process to do it more affordably,” Fox said. “We can go to Bedford or Independence instead of driving to Athens. It’s really a relief.”
Travel expenses, the number of college in attendance in competition matter to the high school players these events attract. Outgoing seniors who played in Saturday’s Ohio North-South Classic approved of satellite camps.
“Just seeing other players and the things I’ve got to work on, it was just a good thing to go,” said Maple Heights’ Kierre Hawkins, a four-star tight end recruited by Ohio State. “The competition makes you better.”
Hawkins added he only attended clinics where interested colleges requested him to participate. Others use the camps to get noticed.
“If I didn’t have that, I don’t think I’d be a Division I football player,” Bedford graduate Cam Odom said last month.
Ban struck deeper than powerhouse programsOdom is an early enrollee at Ohio University, which discovered him at the Bedford camps. Midview’s Dimitri Redwood said Saturday he also benefited from the experience.
“I think I got a lot of good looks from all the coaches that were there,” said Redwood, a wide receiver and safety headed to Wofford. “There were some D-II and FCS schools there. They noticed me, contacted me and it was nice.”
Redwood said Wofford contacted him through camps he attended with Raw Talent, an area sports training company run by Shaker Heights and Kent State graduate Mark Harris. The news of the NCAA OK’ing satellite camps pleased Harris, who takes players on bus tours to those events.
He stressed the need for more FBS schools than just the host.
“When we do that bus tour and go to Ohio State’s camp, and Kent State or Toledo is not there, that makes it tougher,” he said. “I choose camps that have everybody.”
That should no longer be a concern.
In fact, more options already are sprouting up.
“I just got word Purdue is doing a camp at Baldwin Wallace,” Bedford’s Williams said. “That will bring a lot of MAC coaches.”
Nordonia’s Fox added he doesn’t want his players attending an Ohio State or Big Ten camp without more colleges’ coaches to see them. If Ohio State isn’t interested in the player, why go to Columbus?
For now, Fox said he plans to wait a few weeks before concluding which camps are best for his players. The NCAA’s back-and-forth rulings stirred the camp schedule. Colleges nixed their original plans and are now revisiting them.
Toledo announced Monday it is restoring some of its satellite camps, including the Bedford one. The shuffling forced Raw Talent to move a camp it planned for June 8 at Bedford.
“They’re all competing to get kids to come,” Fox said.
This could change again next year.
The NCAA Board of Directors sent back a request that the Division I Council examines college football’s recruiting process. It gave the council a Sept. 1 deadline.