Camp Harbaugh Attendance Shall Thrive
There is only one event that's garnering more national media attention than the upcoming presidential election: the coverage of Jim Harbaugh and his satellite camp tour. This noteworthy phenomenon has blossomed into much more than a recruiting tool for his football program; it now encompasses some of the other sports and activities that occur in Ann Arbor, at one of the top public institutions in the world.
Initially, the camps were banned by NCAA, which came under pressure from the SEC, who wanted to protect their fertile recruiting grounds. However, NCAA executive Oliver Luck (Andrew's father) helped identify the shortsightedness of the ban and encouraged the NCAA to review the decision, which was eventually reversed.
Once the ban was lifted, similar to a child who just pulled off a mischievous act, Harbaugh was determined to push the envelope. Immediately, he scheduled camps around the country and even one out of the country, perhaps taking it to more of an extreme level, than if the NCAA had not interfered in the first place.
Thus a mockery has been made of the NCAA's initial ban, along with the bandwagon journalists across the country who decried the camps. After reversing the initial ruling, the NCAA could ill afford to step in again, despite continued pressure from the SEC to do so; even this dubious body would be likely to avoid a further loss of credibility.
Just as the camps were getting started, the ringleader behind the SEC efforts to ban the camps, Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban, decided to subvert Harbaugh. He should have had better judgment than to take on Harbaugh in the public arena. Saban's double standard became manifest when he broached the idea of recruiting violations, an issue that has plagued his program recently. In fact, on April 29, assistant defensive line coach, Bo Davis resigned after reportedly violating recruiting rules. Harbaugh may have three losses in his short tenure at Michigan, but he is undefeated in the Twittersphere.
Now that the show is on the road, Harbaugh is capitalizing on the event, not only for his own recruiting purposes, but to promote the entire University. For example, at the camp scheduled for St. Frances in Baltimore, the Michigan men's and women's lacrosse coaching staff will be scouting for talent in what is a prime region for the sport. Also, Harbaugh and his staff will devote some of the camp time to area youth in football.
The Michigan Marching Band is getting into the act as well. At the Next Level Camp at Paramus Catholic in New Jersey, members of Michigan Band staff will offer instruction to the Paramus Catholic band. Other college band directors have been asked to attend, to offer additional instruction.
Ultimately, Harbaugh's Satellite camp tour will have a positive impact on young athletes, as well as non-athletes across the country and even in Australia. That's certainly worth writing and talking about, as opposed to vilifying Harbaugh's efforts and questioning his ethics.
Joel Elconin is the co-host of Benzinga's #PreMarket Prep, a daily trading idea radio show. He is also a 1985 graduate of the University of Michigan and a multi-generational season-ticket holder.
Image credit: Brad Muckenthaler, Flickr
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