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Gary Pinkel on satellite camps and the "integrity" of the game

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Gary Pinkel's thoughts on satellite football camps and the NCAA.

David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

Satellite camps in college football have been the topic of much conversation in the offseason. Though they can be technically interpreted as illegal per NCAA rules, we've seen some popular dancing around this rule of late. Missouri head football coach Gary Pinkel has taken a definite position on the issue and gave me some insight from his experience on the subject in a recent sit-down interview.

After the SEC meetings in Destin, Fla., I asked Pinkel about the rule on camps, "The SEC has based their rule on having integrity and doing the right thing. Basketball has a rule that you can’t be off-campus recruiting because of the problems it presents. It’s the same way in college football. We have a rule that you have to be in the state of Missouri, you have to be in a 50-mile radius."

Among other things, the rule is there in order to keep larger, more successful programs from generating unfair recruiting advantages. But as Pinkel points out, the camps simply sections of NCAA rules, which creates distinct advantages for those skating around these rules.

"All of this is a recruiting tool so you can talk to recruits and illegally recruit, that’s all this is. It’s illegal visits, lots of discussions in which you bring parents down and they have home visits in their schools, etc. For all this connection stuff, they’re circumventing the national rule.

"Basketball had the same problems, and they got out of the whole deal."

The veteran Mizzou coach gave some insight regarding his previous experiences in these situations, explaining that this was going on way before Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh was doing it.

"What happened was, there was a certain school in the Big 12 that decided to go down to some podunk college football camp with their assistant coaches. They are not running the camp, the junior college is," Pinkel explained. "The NCAA just let it go."

Jim Harbaugh, James Franklin and others are not doing anything new here. They're just making it more prominent. But popular or not, Pinkel believes the integrity of the game is being violated.

"It presents cheating in various ways. It lends itself, with all this connection stuff, to circumventing the rule," Pinkel said. "It’s not the right thing to do."

The NCAA will soon have a decision to make regarding enforcement of these rules. Plan on seeing either tighter enforcement regarding satellite camps, or an onslaught of SEC schools visiting a high school or junior college near you.