On Thursday, the NCAA Board of Directors rescinded their unpopular ban of college football "satellite camps." Pretty much everyone — especially coaches — hated the ban, and it didn't exactly take long at all for Lovie Smith to share his reaction to the news on social media.
In fact, Illinois will soon be hosting their own events this Summer.
According to Illini Inquirer, the Fighting Illini have already planned four of these trips to Chicago, St. Louis, Dallas, and Tampa. The events will reportedly take place in June after the spring evaluation period concludes. This would hit the four areas cited by athletic director Josh Whitman both as places Illinois needs to recruit more and where Lovie Smith has particular influence because of previous professional stops and his hometown.
If you're already familiar with the concept of these camps, you can stop reading right here. But since Illinois recruiting has been completely irrelevant for years now, here's a very brief explainer on the controversy in case you're new to the college football scene.
What is a satellite camp?
Essentially, satellite camps are recruiting tools. The idea involves programs hosting glorified scouting combines for high school prospects outside the borders of their campuses (i.e. Illinois holding an official event in Florida). The concept has been around for a little while, but its recent notoriety has exploded thanks to Jim Harbaugh and the Michigan Wolverines.
Why did the NCAA want to ban satellite camps?
To be clear, the NCAA did actually ban these camps for a short period of time. The organization decided to look into the issue after [SEC] institutions complained that it offered schools unfair advantages (everyone immediately started to flock toward the talent-rich recruiting grounds of the Southeastern United States). For a more detailed explanation of the controversy, click right here.
And why exactly did the NCAA change its mind on this issue?
Funny story. It turns out that the U.S. Department of Justice planned on investigating the proposed ban. So it appears the NCAA reversed the decision in order to avoid all of that unnecessary effort involved with defending their position.
The DOJ is reportedly looking into the camp ban to decide whether the ban limits opportunities for high school players to be seen by college coaches. Considering satellite camps were an excellent and efficient way for players to be seen by a number of coaching staffs at once, there's no question that it limits their access. But the ban would not prevent players from going on visits to schools or being scouted in other ways, even if some of those visits are outside the financial reach of many families.
What a world, y'all. What a world.
Cool. So what does this mean for Illinois?
Like I mentioned above, the reversal of the ban is pretty great news for Illinois. The coaching staff is already way behind in recruiting since they were all hired in March, and the boost in brand exposure can help make up some of that lost ground.