Jeff Reed: NCAA Votes Against the Poor


Jeff Reed Author PageA lot has been said and written about this squabble that has developed about satellite prospect football camps among the haves of college football.

On the surface it seems more like a battle between Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh and Alabama coach Nick Saban and his Southeastern Conference cohorts.

Last week a vote by an NCAA committee, and there are several, went 10-5 against the elimination of said camps immediately.

In true Orwellian fashion, it was an interesting vote where the Power 5 member’s votes count double. But the 10-5 vote was not along party lines. The Big 10 wants such camps and went with the other side. The shocking news was that the Sun Belt Conference – Texas State athletic director Dr. Larry Teis cast the vote – was in the against column.  This is a league that lives off such camps and all of the league’s football coaches were in favor.

What is even more puzzling is the response Sun Belt Commissioner Karl Benson gave the Atlanta Constitution-Journal of why it voted that way.

“The Sun Belt voted on a controversial issue to eliminate these satellite camps. Six of ten FBS conferences voted to eliminate these camps. The pros and cons of these camps can be debated, and I am sure there will continue to be discussion on this matter, but for now the majority has spoken and it’s time to move on and the Sun Belt football programs will continue to get better with or without these camps.”

Reading that, two thoughts come to mine. One if from the famous quote “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

The other is the image of Charles Durning playing the Governor in Best Little Whorehouse, a character known for saying much but meaning little. His mantra, sing along if you wish, “Oooo I love to dance a little side-step …”

It may take a while to figure that one out. Perhaps a white flag is a better plan.

The fallout of this ruling is far-reaching. Athletes with limited resources will be seen by fewer schools; smaller-name schools will see fewer quality players, and coaches – some high school and college – will lose income being able to work at the camps.

The big loser is the athlete. Even if they have the resources to travel hundreds of miles they might not have someone who can take the time off work to get them there.

Arkansas State, which has won four of the past five Sun Belt titles, has used the camps the past three years and had plans for about a dozen this year, three of those in Arkansas.

If this ruling stands they will have a few camps in Jonesboro but that is it.

“The vote was really against poor people,’’ said Arkansas State athletic director Terry Mohajir. “While it serves a few schools, it really hurts a lot of kids who aren’t getting an opportunity.”

The national media has gone bonkers with the story. And more and more people are speaking out, many of them citing a lost opportunity.

We figure at least a compromise is coming. Another NCAA committee will address the issue this spring.  In that group everyone gets equal votes and is made up of presidents and chancellors from the 10 conferences, one athletic director (Big 10), one senior women’s administrator (ACC) and one student (Mountain West).

Hopefully, it will be a fair one.

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Jeff Reed is editor of

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