High School Sports

Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh to hold satellite camp at Blue Springs South

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh will hold satellite camps June 15 at Pittsburg State University and Blue Springs South High School.
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh will hold satellite camps June 15 at Pittsburg State University and Blue Springs South High School. The Associated Press

Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh is bringing The Swarm Tour to Kansas City next month.

Harbaugh has scheduled a satellite camp — the latest craze in college football, albeit a controversial one — at Blue Springs South High School for June 15.

The reservation falls less than a week after the NCAA Division I Board of Directors ruled to permit the satellite football camps, reversing a decision last month from the Division I Council that had limited coaches’ appearances to strictly on-campus clinics.

The camp at Blue Springs South next month — dubbed the Midwest Elite Football Camp — will be for all incoming and current high school-age players and run from 5 to 8 p.m. Harbaugh will also host a camp at Pittsburg State from 9 a.m. to noon on the same day.

Harbaugh’s wife, Sarah, is the sister of Amy Cain, whose husband, Jimmy, is the Blue Springs South boys basketball coach.

Harbaugh sparked the satellite-camp debate when he went on his inaugural “Swarm Tour” last summer, making appearances at football camps throughout the southeastern United States. That prompted complaints from his coaching colleagues — particularly those in the Southeastern Conference and Atlantic Coast Conference.

It led to a testy exchange between Harbaugh and new Georgia coach Kirby Smart in February.

Asked about Michigan’s satellite camps during an appearance with fans, Smart said Michigan was “obviously trying to gain a competitive advantage, and that’s their right. But I think the NCAA in due time will have to step in.”

Harbaugh replied on Twitter, “If the Georgia coach is implying any intent on our part to break rules, he is barking up the wrong tree.”

On April 8, the NCAA council voted to forbid coaches from serving as guest instructors at football camps located off-campus — i.e., the “satellite” camps. Those who have backed the ban argue the clinics operate in a gray area of recruiting.

While the NCAA Board of Directors overturned that decision, coaches still are not allowed to directly recruit athletes during their appearances — though it certainly helps them scout and develop relationships with prospects. The supporters of the camps contend it allows under-the-radar high school athletes to gain exposure, especially those who cannot afford to travel for official college visits.

The Blue Springs South camp next month will be open to all high school players across the region.

Missouri will participate in approximately a dozen satellite camps after the SEC lifted its own ban on them, including one in Atlanta with Mississippi that includes at least 15 schools, according to USA Today. The Tigers are also expected to add camps in Kansas City and St. Louis.

The Star’s Tod Palmer contributed to this report.

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