Richt: NCAA 'loophole' on satellite camps should be changed

semerson@macon.comMay 29, 2014 

DESTIN, Fla. - First Penn State, and now Notre Dame. And now the SEC either needs to change its rules, or get the NCAA to close what Mark Richt calls a "loophole."

Notre Dame is planning to hold a "satellite" recruiting camp at Georgia State in 2015, following up on Penn State's plans to do so at Georgia State next month. It's part of an effort by each school to deepen its reach into the deep South, while Georgia State gets the benefit of better players coming to its camps.

SEC schools are powerless to retaliate: Conference bylaws say its schools can only hold camps within a 50-mile radius of their own campus.

Richt pointed out that NCAA rules are similar, but have a loophole that allows what Penn State and Notre Dame are doing. SEC coaches would like that loophole closed, Richt said Wednesday.

There's an NCAA rule that says an institutional camp needs to be at your institution. The spirit of that rule is not to have satellite camps all over the place," Richt said. "To me what I'm seeing is a loophole to where if another school sponsors the camp, Georgia State camp featuring Penn State coaches - or some Division II schools in Texas featuring Oklahoma's coaches or Oklahoma State's coaches or Texas' coaches, and just barnstorming all over the place.

"The rule, to say everyone's camps should be on their own institution, people are finding a way around that rule. We think the rule was set for a reason, and we think it oughta stay that way. We as a league don't do that. We choose not to do that."

Notre Dame's satellite camp is part of its push to expand its recruiting reach into the deep South. Georgia and Notre Dame have been in discussions about playing each other later this decade. But athletics director Greg McGarity said this doesn't jeopardize those talks.

"It's a free world, and people can do what they want to do," McGarity said. "We need to focus on our operation and what we can do. We have enough to worry about on our end, much less what others are doing."

Still, the satellite camps have been a point of discussion at this week's SEC meetings. Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops told reporters that coaches in the SEC would like "an even playing field." Commissioner Mike Slive said Tuesday that "these kinds of things that make us think about changing our rules."

McGarity wasn't aware of an SEC rule change being on the agenda Thursday or Friday, the final two days of meetings. He said it has only been a "point of discussion."

"There's really nothing new here, as far as the rule has been in place for some time," McGarity said. "Schools have been able to do it. And if coaches don't like it then we have the ability to change our conference rules, or we have the ability to change NCAA legislation. There are many options out there. But as long as it's a rule that's on the books, then we basically have no argument."

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