Penn State's Franklin says he stole satellite camp idea from other coaches

Associated Press

NEW YORK — Penn State coach James Franklin wants to make something clear when it comes to the debate about so-called satellite camps: He stole the idea.

Franklin sparked a controversy last year when he and his staff guest coached at a Georgia State camp in Atlanta. Southeastern Conference coaches bristled because SEC rules prohibit them from doing something similar.

Notre Dame, Ohio State and Michigan have since done satellite camps. The SEC now wants the NCAA to ban them.

Franklin, who was in New York on Wednesday for a stop on Penn State's coaches' caravan, said when he was at Vanderbilt, a coach who was new to the SEC suggested holding satellite camps, not realizing they were not allowed. When Franklin moved to Penn State, another "prominent" Big Ten coach talked about doing satellite camps at the league meetings.

"So I go back to my guys and say we got to do this," Franklin said.

NCAA rules allow football programs to hold camps on their campus, inside their state or within a 50-mile radius of campus, but coaches can guest coach at another school's camp — whether it's another FBS school, a Division III school or even a high school.

The SEC and Atlantic Coast Conference have league-wide rules against guest coaching, in part because they don't want their coaches treading on each other's turf.

For programs such as Penn State and Michigan, satellite camps are a way to expand their reach into the fertile recruiting territory of the southeast.

But Franklin is far from the first coach to take advantage of the limitations of the NCAA rule.

Greg Schiano took his Rutgers staff to south Florida, where he had worked for Miami, as a way to revive a failing program in the early 2000s. Oklahoma State has notably held satellite camps in Texas under coach Mike Gundy.

"It's been around for a long time," Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said.

Franklin is quick to point that out, too.

"For whatever reason, when we did it, it made national story lines," he said.

The new NCAA football oversight committee plans to tackle the satellite camp issue in June and could make a recommendation to either shut them down or leave them open.

"I'm sure it will be right at the top of our agenda," said Bowlsby, who will head the committee.

Franklin said it is hard to guess the future of satellite camps.

"I do think there is a portion of coaches out there, probably 50/50 split, and it probably goes back to the old haves and have nots," Franklin said. "(Those against) want to get rid of it and keep everybody on the same page. But then there's the other ones that feel like they need it to be competitive, the same programs that have been doing it forever and no one talked about, they are going to fight to keep it."